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Relay For Life Raises Over $30K for Cancer

By Caleb O. Shelburne, Crimson Staff Writer

Over 400 students gathered Friday evening for Harvard’s 12th annual Relay For Life, raising about $33,000 for cancer research and for support for survivors.

The 12-hour event, one of many held annually around the world, centered on a fundraising walk around the Gordon Indoor Track. It also featured games, food, ceremonies, and performances by student groups.

This year’s total falls short of the group’s $60,000 goal, but organizers say they are pleased with the experience that the event provided.

“We all get so wrapped up in the stuff on campus,” said Preeti V. Srinivasan ’16, one of the event’s directors. “It feels so nice to just take 12 hours out of our day and realize that all of this money is going to the American Cancer Society.”

Several student organizations set up stands selling food and raffle tickets at the event to raise additional money. All of the proceeds will be donated to the American Cancer Society to fund cancer research efforts and benefit survivors.

The opening ceremony featured a speech by Harvard Medical School student Erin M. Fletcher who has been involved with Relay For Life since her days at San Diego State University as an undergraduate. Fletcher discussed her work providing a summer camp experience to children with cancer.

Lighter moments like a Miss Relay contest led by the Hasty Pudding Theatricals and a late night dance competition were balanced with more solemn ones such as the traditional luminaria ceremony, which Srinivasan and her co-director Gabriel E. Molina ’15 referred to as their favorite part of Relay events.

During the luminaria ceremony participants joined together to walk a silent lap around the track as a tribute to those who have been affected by cancer. Each participant was given a glow stick to indicate the impact of cancer on their lives, be it their own diagnosis, the diagnosis of a loved one, or their commitment to the cause.

“It’s that moment every year when I remember that this is all worth it,” said Srinivasan, “the moment when you realize we’re actually making a difference.”

–Staff writer Caleb O. Shelburne can be reached at Follow him on twitter @caleboshelburne.

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