On the evening of Friday, Feb. 23 and until the sunrise of the morning of Saturday, Feb. 24, the annual Relay for Life event took place in Millersville University’s Marauder Courts. The goal was to raise $30,000 by the end of the event at 6 a.m. Most attendees started arriving around 5 p.m., where various people and groups set up their comforts for the long night.
The first floor of the Marauder Courts was sectioned into various areas. At one end there was the stage, screen, DJ, and purplish balloon arch. The other end had the tables of food, shirts, and the welcome desk. The middle of the court was covered by stations for the groups to assemble as well as various activities of catching footballs, board games, card games, frisbee, and more. On the balcony of the track course that circles above the courts, there was a table of string and beads to keep count of the laps you took, as well as little lantern-like bags with the names of those who people had lost to cancer, which are known as Luminaria.
The opening ceremony commenced at 6 p.m., where survivors were the first to walk their laps around the track, as everyone else who attended cheered, clapped, and made gestures of encouragement. Music of hope and victory echoed around the Marauder Courts and into the outer corridors. Soon other participants were allowed to join in on the laps.
The Luminaria Event at 11 p.m. was to remember all of those who have passed away from cancer. Everyone except the facilitators of the event came to the second floor on the track. As the lights of the Marauder Courts were dimmed, a solemn atmosphere entered the room. All attendees began to circle the track as the Luminaria lanterns shone, and saddening music played.
As people walked their laps during this quiet time, the Luminaria in the middle of the courts were rearranged from the word “hope” to “cure.” This represented the feelings of the survivors that would rather see the disease eradicated than simply hoping for others to survive their own cancer battles.
As this solemn time continued, people walked around the raised track for over a half an hour as subtly themed music conveyed a somber tone. Some people had to stop walking as they started crying with tears of remembrance of those they lost. A great deal of comfort came to everyone with hugs, words, and encouragement to stand up and continue the trek.
Over the course of the rest of the seven hours, there was a spectrum of demeanors, which depended on where people were during Relay for Life. Outside the Luminaria Ceremony, people were mourning as they walked the track above the Marauder Courts. Yet hope and excitement for the fundraising was evident through games, shows, and outright philanthropy.
The event was attended by many individuals, as well as several organizations of fraternities and sororities, intramural club sports, and music groups such as Alpha Xi Delta, Women’s Club Soccer, and Marauder Men’s Glee Club to name some of the many.
The organizations got involved in many events to raise more money. The two most successful were the Police Arrest event, and the Miss Relay Event. The Police Arrest involved other people to pay one of the facilitators to arrest a friend, and some chose to arrest their entire organization with the presidents getting longer sentences. Many men dressed their best for Miss Relay, and participated in a talent show. They entered the crowd to perform, and collected money that totaled more than $500.
The goal of the night was to raise $30,000, and despite money flowing in all night, the total amount raised was $25,122.42. However, donations have been continuing to flow. The Monday after the event, the sum of donations totaled at $27,788.
Even after the Relay for Life event, the message on the website is to keep the donations coming in. The event is about remembrance for those lost to cancer, but also about hope and awareness that will lead to actions and thus lead to a cure.
Further donations can be made at: