Relay for Life raises $1 million in fight against cancer since 2008


Courtesy/Jason Kolnos

Saint Anselm College Relay for Life participants were proud to officially raise $1,000,000 in the fight against cancer

Flannery Moore and Kathryn Williams

The 15th annual Sister Pauline Relay for Life marked many important milestones for the Saint Anselm community. It was the first fully in-person Relay since 2019, another step towards normalcy during a pandemic. This year’s donations brought Saint Anselm’s cumulative donations to a whopping $1 million since the first Relay in 2008.

Relay for Life, a popular event organized by many service societies on campus, was co-chaired this year by seniors Molly O’Brien (Seton Society) and Joe Cavanaugh (King Edward Society). “The heart and soul of this program rests with the King Edward, Seton, Koinonia, Red Key Societies, and APO.  I am so very proud of the leadership and effort they have put into Relay for Life over the past 15 years,” said Relay coordinator Dean Andrew Litz. 

This year there were 50 teams at Relay and 822 participants, 40% of which raised $100 or more. Dean Litz said that this year’s fundraising goal was $80,000 and that $92,602 was raised, bringing Saint A’s to the milestone of $1 million in donations.

Relay is an opportunity for the community to honor survivors, those who have lost their battles with cancer, and caretakers. The speakers at the event included Grand Marshall and survivor Colleen McConnell ‘22. She shared her story of fighting cancer while a nursing student at Saint A’s, emphasizing the power of the love and support she received. 

Caroline Kiley ‘24, a member of the Koinonia Society and the 2022 Relay Committee, also shared her story of how she postponed her freshman year and lived through the first year of the pandemic while fighting cancer. “My favorite part [of Relay] was definitely having my family there and having the opportunity to thank them for being my biggest supports and be able to have them be a part of the community I love so much for the night,” Kiley said.

Relay for Life is permanently dedicated to Sister Pauline Lucier, a beloved member of the Saint Anselm community. Sister Pauline served as a campus minister from 2002 until her death in 2009 and was the Grand Marshall for the 2008 Relay for Life. Before the Luminaria ceremony, Father Francis McCarty, O.S.B. delivered a tribute to Sister Pauline, whom he credits as a big reason he became a monk and the reason why he relays. 

“When I was a student here at Saint Anselm, she helped me through a very dark period in my life and she saw potential in me that I would not realize myself until almost a decade later,” said Father Francis. “There are countless students who had a very similar experience with Sister Pauline and her impact on Saint Anselm will be felt for decades to come,” he continued.

To keep spirits up as the 10-hour event went on, there were many fun activities for participants to partake in. There was a special CABingo, pizza, barbeque food, and more. The tug-of-war was one of the notable events, as crowds chanted “SGA, SGA, SGA…” in support of the team. “In all my years, I’ve never seen it go this way,” said Dean Litz. “I loved it. It was a crowning moment for the underdog…who ultimately lost to the Men’s Ice Hockey Team,” he continued.

When asked “why Relay?” Dean Litz answered, “Relay was an example of how we could bring ‘real change’ to a community.” He said in his opening speech that “we do this first through volunteerism” but added that “Change also requires some form of philanthropy.” Relay is an excellent example of Saint Anselm students coming together to demonstrate such philanthropy, in keeping with Benedictine tradition.