Following NEWMAC Track and Field Finals Saturday afternoon, Blake Track will undergo a complete makeover, complete with lawn games, music, snacks, and a mass of students, all walking laps for 6 hours, with one purpose: raise funds and awareness for cancer.
Sunday April 29 will mark the first ever Relay For Life hosted by Springfield College from 3-9 p.m. So far, about 150 participants have signed up to be on teams for the event, and together have raised about $1,500.
Relay For Life is a community based fundraising event of the American Cancer Society. Springfield College will join the 5,000 Relays that occur each year.
Each Relay is designed where participants continually walk around a track, with each team represented by at least one member at all times. The importance of this is to symbolize that cancer is ongoing and never sleeps. Likewise, cancer patients never stop fighting, even when they’re tired, so participants will not stop walking either.
Springfield College has made it their own, by organizing a different theme for each hour of the walk, as well as providing participants the opportunity to win gift cards throughout the day. The themes are as follows: 3 p.m. is purple for cancer awareness, 4 p.m. is Hawaiian, 5 p.m. is Springfield spirit, 6 p.m. is ‘80s, 7 p.m. is pajamas, and 8 p.m. is the luminaria walk, which is a reflective time to honor those who are currently or have previously battled cancer. The event will conclude at 9 p.m. with a ceremony featuring guest speaking and cancer survivor, Sue Nowlan.
Although this event is new to the college, the principles of leadership and service to others is not. Jackie Davis, who one of the student-organizers, believes that its aspect, which will harmonize the foundation with the campus.
“We wanted to bring Relay for Life to Springfield College, because we do feel it is connected to what we stand for regarding the humanics philosophy,” said Davis. “It allows people to stand up for something they have a passion for, and to help out those who are not able to.”
In addition to the participants who have already registered to be on a team, there are many ways other to get involved with the Relay. The event is open to the public, and welcomes students, staff, and faculty members to come to Blake Track at any point.
The College is also looking for help to reach its $5,000 donation goal, and while this number can be daunting, especially to college students, there are many ways to make a difference, without breaking the wallet. Luminarias are currently on sale in the Union for $5 each, which can be decorated to honor someone who has been affected by cancer. These will serve as a purposeful reminder, as well as light up the track during the final hour of the relay. Another option is to contribute to the donation jars that will be at the event. To put this into perspective, if each student donated $1, the organization would be within range of achieving its goal for the American Cancer Society. Donations can also be made via https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/springfield-college-relay-for-life.
As the organizers finalize the preparations, Davis is optimistic that the event will add a sense of unity, and provide a positive light, especially amidst a time of end of the year stress.
“We hope that students and staff will understand what it means to Relay,” said Davis. “We hope that by seeing many people come together to Relay, we will build a sense of hope across the campus, that will cast a wave and start a chain reaction.”