By Kaitlyn Smith
Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) hosted their annual Relay for Life event which raised over $10,000 for the American Cancer Society — an organization dedicated to fighting cancer — on Nov. 5.
The event, which took place in the Recreation Center, kicked off with a lap celebrating local cancer survivors and was followed up by a lap with the caregivers, and then the attendees. This event not only raised funds for a worthy cause but also provided people a place to connect through food, activities and games. Activities included a cornhole tournament, giant jenga, connect four, hair tinseling, glitter tattoos, volleyball, a silent auction and walking around the track.
Gifts were donated and auctioned off at the Silent Auction. Some of these gifts included an autographed Eagles photo and an autographed Giants football that were donated by different professional football teams. Proceeds went to the American Cancer Society.
CAC is a program designed to help eliminate cancer by raising funds and hosting events for the American Cancer Society. The majority of the club is run by students, but all who volunteer their time have the collective goal of maintaining a community that spreads awareness, and information, raises funds and gives support to anyone with ties to cancer.
Alexa Karamanoogian, a senior applied mathematics major and co-president of CAC, affirmed that the organization “tries to build a space where everyone feels comfortable and has an outlet to reach out if they feel comfortable with us.”
During the event, people gathered around the stage as volunteers and attendees prepared to share their stories. There was a sense of community as people bravely stepped up to speak up about their personal experiences with cancer.
“We want to tell our members’ stories, our experiences,” said Jordanna Barteles, the co-president of CAC and a junior majoring in secondary education and mathematics. “Cancer isn’t a hidden subject, everyone knows someone who's affected.”
“One of my biggest things is that I don’t want it to be a whispered talk, I want everyone to feel comfortable sharing if they need to and that’s a big part of our club,” Barteles added.
According to Karamanoogian, they raised around $12,736 by Tuesday, Nov. 7. The American Cancer Society will use these funds to carry out its mission of freeing the world from cancer and improving the lives of those fighting cancer through advocacy, research and patient support.
Campus cosponsors included Alpha Zeta Medical Society, Circle K International, Unified Greek Council, WILL, Sigma Kappa, Theta Phi Alpha, Tau Kappa Epsilon, Delta Zeta, Chi Upsilon Sigma and Alpha Epsilon Pi.
After the speeches, one by one the lights turned off, officially signaling that the Luminaria Ceremony was about to begin. Each person was given a tea light while the luminaries — small paper lanterns — lit up the track. The soft glow illuminated the path for two silent laps to remember those who passed from cancer and honor the survivors.
Toward the end of the event, the Trentones, the College’s only Competitive A Cappella Group, harmonized different pieces and finished with Viva La Vida by Coldplay before CAC held their closing speech.
Kim Gray, one of the Relay for Life attendees, described the experience.
“In this setting, it seems so much more personal and more connected with the staff, it's so much more intimate,” Gray said. “You don't feel like you're lost in the crowd here.”
For more information on the American Cancer Society visit cancer.org. Students at the College who wish to get involved with CAC can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow their Instagram, @cac_at_tcnj.