Framingham State will be hosting its first Relay for Life event on Sunday, May 1.
According to relayforlife.org, the American Cancer Society Relay for Life was founded by Gordon “Gordy” Klatt, who hosted the first relay in 1986 with 19 teams and raised $33,000. The Relay for Life “has grown into a nationwide event raising nearly $5 billion in fundraising to save lives from cancer,” and licenses 20 non-governmental cancer organizations to host events throughout the world.
The website also states that money raised for the American Cancer Society goes to research and treatments.
Relay for Life Representative Kathleen Reynolds spoke at a meeting on Wednesday night about what FSU teams can do to raise funds and what the event will include.
She said teams can set up their own activities at the event to raise funds for their team contributions, but not every activity has to cost money. Additionally, each student can set a goal to reach in terms of raising money.
For the day of the relay, teams will be setting up around the track of the athletic field on Maple St., and Reynolds said the Ram Tram will be running to the field.
Event and People Lead Kaylee Brazell, a junior, said tables and some chairs will be provided, but teams can bring additional chairs or tents as long as participants don’t use stakes since it’s a turf field.
Reynolds said the sites won’t be designated, but “everyone should have ample space, and we will be guiding you towards designated spaces as you come. … It’s first-come, first-serve, so if you get there early, you can get the prime spot.”
She added teams are welcome to decorate their site with fun and creative activities and decorations. “Say your team wants to go all-out with a Twister theme – you can even have people walking around with signs saying ‘Come join us at Twister at 5:00.’”
Find the Cure Lead Jenn Holden, a junior, said, “We encourage you guys to make it your own because we’re trying to make it as awesome as it can be, since it’s the first relay. So if you guys have some ideas, go for it.”
Reynolds added there is no alcohol allowed, or anything against campus policy, during the relay.
The event will include a survivors’ lap, a caregivers’ lap, a luminaria ceremony and a closing ceremony at 9:30 p.m.
Students who raise $100 receive a Relay for Life T-shirt, and the money goes to the Hope Lodge in either Boston or Worcester, according to Reynolds. She added $100 pays for a cancer patient’s one-night stay at the Hope Lodge, which will provide rides to patients for treatments and a place to stay.
“If we have five Hope Club members, that’s $500, so that’s five nights at the Hope Lodge. So that’s one person who’s going through treatment who can stay in Boston at the Hope Lodge, and get the van to and from treatment for five nights,” said Reynolds.
Along with fundraising events, Reynolds said participants can buy luminaria bags in honor of someone who has or had cancer. Luminarias are $10 and they can be bought ahead of time either online, the day of the relay or at the event “Eddy Beeso’s Journey With Cancer,” on April 25.
Brazell said the event will be in the Ecumenical Center. “It’s one of our biggest pre-relay events. He’s also an FSU alum. He’s also coming to the event. … It will just be a good time to really get the feel of what the relay is all about.”
Reynolds said the luminaria lap “is where you can recognize someone that you’re thinking of that evening, and when the sun starts to set at 8:15, we will have the luminaria ceremony. These will surround the track. They will have a glow stick in them to light them up and they will say, ‘In memory of’ or ‘In honor of’ different loved ones that we all have who have been touched by cancer, or you can also do ‘For a cure’ for cancer.”
Brazell said the bags can be decorated in person if they are bought at either Beeso’s event or the day of the relay, and if the bags are bought online, the name of the person the luminaria is dedicated to will be put on the bag ahead of the relay.
Reynolds also encouraged those attending the relay to download the free app, America Cancer Society FUNdraising, for iOS and Android. With the app, participants can donate money, buy luminarias, email team members and invite people to teams. The app also accepts credit cards or checks which can then be allocated toward the overall event’s funds, team funds or individual funds.
“This year has been huge. We have gotten so many great responses from all of you and all of your teams, and that’s what created so much back-up by the school now. … Getting the administrative side support will be a big thing next year,” she said.