John Cote, Staff Writer
Florida Southern College’s second annual Relay For Life raised $29,000, doubling last year’s amount of $14,500.
The Relay was lead by Chase Hoyt and Rachel Belli, who spent countless hours planning for the event.
“I think honestly the best part of it is just knowing all the lives we’ve touched,” Belli said. “While fundraising is the primary focus, Relay is so much more than that. Seeing the survivors walk their “victory lap” and tell their stories is just incredible. Also, giving students a way to remember those who they’ve loved and lost to cancer is really impactful.”
Florida Southern’s Relay or Life is a community-wide event where teams raise money and walk around a track, in this case the Jenkins Field House, to symbolize the struggle cancer patients must make when fighting cancer.
According to Belli, the money goes directly to the American Cancer Society and they decide where it goes from there. Some of it may go to PFS (Patient Family Services) like Hope Lodge, Road to Recovery, Look Good-Feel Better, etc. It can also go to research and (I believe) staffing.
“The most memorable moment of the night had to be after everything was set up and we (the leadership committee) were ready for participants to arrive and we could just stop and breathe,” Belli said. “The committee put so much work into the event and to see it come to life was just really exciting for everyone. Beyond that, though, when the totals for the night were calculated and we knew we had exceeded our goal, that was a really proud moment. We all have different reasons why we Relay but to be able to come together as a school to put on such an impactful event and raise so much money for the American Cancer Society was really inspiring,” Belli said.
Awards are given as incentives to the teams participating and there are various categories. Awards are given out for the individual with the most money raised, the individual with the second most amount of money raised, the team with most money raised, and the most spirited team.
The winner of the individual with the most money raised award went to Brooke Bezdek who raised over $13,000. Alpha Delta Pi sorority raised over $15,000, which was more than any other team.
“It’s amazing that we doubled last year’s amount and I can’t wait to see what we will raise next year,” Hoyt said at the award ceremony.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon won the award for most spirited team at the event.
“Our country was Greece so it was real easy to get brothers to dress up in togas at the event to draw attention to our booth,” President of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Kyle Shatto said.
“I thought it was so funny to see the ‘frat boys’ dressed up in sheet togas but they definitely had the most participation and spirit,“ Florida Southern student Elise Barnes said.
During the event students walked around the designated track stopping by at the different booths put on by organizations. Some of these booths included soap making, a ring toss for raffle tickets, Jets pizza, and even Harry Potter-inspired Butter Beer.
Next year’s Relay for Life is expected to be even bigger and better as more and more organizations join in to help the fight against cancer and bring hope to families with members who are currently battling the disease.
Photo by Ashley Buckey