The fight against cancer is underway at Harvard once again this year as Relay for Life, an annual event that raises money for the American Cancer Society, picks up steam on campus.
During the months leading up to Relay for Life, participants collect donations, often in creative ways such as bake sales or benefit concerts. This fundraising culminates in a night-long event, which includes games, entertainment, and other festivities as participants take turns walking around a track or field in order to celebrate the fight against cancer and those who have survived the disease.
This year Harvard is hosting its very own relay, instead of collaborating with other universities as it has in the past. Harvard students can break into groups based on dorms, clubs, or other affilliations to raise money for the American Cancer Society. This year is considered to be an especially important year to directors of the event because it is the first year Harvard has hosted its own event.
"We really want to set a high bar for future years," said Co-Director of Harvard Relay for Life Mackenzie J. Lowry '11, who encouraged students to join the event citing it as an incredible experience.
"There's a lot of fun and entertainment," Lowry said. "Last year we broke the Guiness world record for number of simultaneous fist-bumps."
Organizers of the events encouraged students to either join a team or create their own, stressing that it was an achievable task for anyone.
"It's super easy and takes no time at all," said Thayer Team Leader Katerina Glyptis '14.
The event also holds a deep emotional purpose for many of the participants. "Everyone has a different reason to walk," Glyptis said.
Lowry agreed, saying that it was the death of her father to cancer in high school as well as losing a classmate to cancer in college that motivates her to walk. "Everyone knows someone, or knows someone who knows someone [affected by cancer]" Lowry said.
158 people are currently participating and Relay for Life has raised $8,586.00 at Harvard so far. Interested students are encouraged to check out the Harvard Relay for Life website.