4/24/2014 5:27:59 PM

Relay for Life Gala: Looking to the Future

Thursday, April 18, 2013

By Sarah Vistocco '13

“I participate in Relay so people never have to hear the words, ‘you have cancer’ again,” stated Relay for Life Co-Chairperson Lauren Eversley ’13. The Siena College Relay for Life Gala was a formal affair that carried this hopeful message. It served as a prelude to Siena College’s annual Relay for Life on April 12.

Ticket holders were invited to wine, dine and donate through gift basket raffles to raise money for the American Cancer Society. More than 70 people, including cancer survivors and supporters, attended Siena’s first Relay for Life Gala, which raised more than $2,500 for the American Cancer Society.

“In the beginning of this year we had this crazy idea of throwing a gala as a fundraiser in order to really reach administration, staff and faculty as well as people in the community outside of Siena,” said Relay for Life Co-Chairperson Jacquelyn Studdert ’13.

During the event, a poem was read as the audience gazed upon an empty table in the center of the room. It was set to represent those who have lost their lives to cancer. Unfortunately, many of those in attendance as well as those working on the Relay for Life committee have had personal experiences with cancer.

“Cancer had touched members of my family and friends’ lives and Relay for Life is a tangible way for me to give back and support them,” Eversley said.

Studdert also shared that her experiences with loved ones affected by cancer inspire her to lead events such as these. Relay for Life was her way to fight against cancer after recently losing her grandfather to the disease.

Although the Relay celebration remembers those who have died from and are fighting cancer, there is an ever-present message that someday cancer will lose the battle for good. Cancer survivor Marjorie Ward spoke about her hope for the future of cancer research. As she pointed to her grandchildren, Ward said, “Hopefully their future will be a world without cancer and lots more birthdays.”

Studdert praised those in attendance. “It was amazing to see that not only did students attend, but people from outside of Siena, professors, and administration had a strong presence at the event as well,” Studdert said. Last year, Siena’s Relay for Life participants raised $34,000. This year they have an inspiring goal of $38,000. Each participant counts in the fight against cancer. As the opening event for Relay for Life, the Gala set a positive tone to continue this fight.

Contact: Ken Jubie
Contact E-mail: communications@siena.edu

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