Saint Anselm College held its 12th annual Sister Pauline Lucier Relay for Life on Friday, March 29. At the event’s conclusion, the school raised a total of $117,028.17, a Saint Anselm Relay for Life record for most funds raised. Dean Andrew Litz, who served as Master of Ceremonies, informed the crowd that he expects future alumni donations to push the fundraising total to around $120,000. At the time of publishing, the fundraiser was at $118,275.23.
Relay for Life has been a tradition on the hilltop since 2008, in which students gather for an all night walk-a-thon to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The night serves as a way to honor those who are currently fighting, have survived, or have lost their battle to cancer.
This year, the event held 949 participants from the college, making up 55 teams of students, staff, and faculty.
The Relay spanned from 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. in the Carr Center. The night’s events were organized by the campus’ five service societies: Alpha Phi Omega, the King Edward Society, Koinonia, the Red Key Society, and the Society of Saint Elizabeth Seton.
During the opening ceremonies, Dean of Students Alicia Finn spoke about Sr. Pauline, a former Campus Minister, who passed away from cancer in 2009. Sr. Pauline was the Grand Marshal during the 2008 relay. The next year, the event was named in her honor.
The opening ceremony also included moving speeches delivered by two Saint Anselm College students. Tate Van Valkenburg, ‘20 and Luke Testa, ‘19 both spoke of the impact cancer has had on their families, and inspired the audience by reminding participants of why they Relay. Professor Jonathan Lupo of the Communications department shared the story of his young son, Henry, and his battle with cancer as a toddler. Henry, now a cancer survivor, was also in attendance and served as the 2019 Grand Marshall. Professor Lupo thanked the community for the overwhelming support they showed him and his family during Henry’s treatment years ago. Henry lead the participants in an initial survivor lap to kickoff the night’s relay.
Each relay, several participants choose to donate at least 8 inches of their hair during the Chop for a Stop to Childhood Cancer hair donation segment. The hair is turned into wigs for those who have lost their own hair while undergoing cancer treatment.
A particularly special tradition of Relay for Life is the Luminaria Ceremony. During this hour, the Carr Center was lined with paper bags that students decorated in honor of loved ones who are fighting cancer, or in memory of those who have passed away. The lights are turned off, and the participants walk silently through the trail of lighted bags during a time of reflection and remembrance.
Throughout the night, the societies hosted games and activities to keep the crowd energized. Such games included a dance-off, musical chairs, and tug-of-war. Additionally, pizza was provided by the Red Key Society, and a barbeque was hosted by the King Edward Society.