Local do-gooders raised nearly $100,000 for the American Cancer Society this weekend by walking, running and jogging through the night for the 6th annual Relay for Life.
Nearly 145 teams of UCSB students and community members pledged to march around UCSB’s outdoor track as many times as they could in 24 hours. Beginning noon Friday and ending noon Saturday, participants were provided with live performances, deejays, food, games and prizes as they rallied around the track in support of cancer research. By the event’s end, relay organizers had collected $96,000 — just under the $102,000 garnered in donations last year.
Karin Yung, team captain coordinator and online chair, said the relay provides a unique forum for those affected by cancer to feel supported by the community.
“Relay [for Life] is really important because a lot of people, especially students, don’t talk about having cancer or being a survivor,” Yung, a third-year Asian American studies major, said. “It’s really been the highlight of my years here at UCSB.”
Cancer survivor Gabriela Correa, a fourth-year political science major, said she relayed to celebrate her 10-year anniversary of beating cancer as well as to honor her peers who were not as fortunate.
“When I was nine I was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia,” Correa said. “It means a lot to me because out of the group I did chemotherapy with, I am the only one who survived — so I’m also here for them.”
Breanna Duplisea, representing the Pink Link Breast Cancer Research Awareness Club at UCSB, said her team was devoted to cancer prevention and the search for a cure.
According to Duplisea, a third-year biology major, one out of every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
“Everyone knows someone — family, friends, neighbors — who have been affected by this horrible disease,” Duplisea said.
The traditional Luminaria Ceremony held at 9 p.m. on Friday offered a solemn tone of remembrance for those who have lost their battles to cancer. Luminaria committee member Ali Ward, a second-year political science major, said illuminating the track with remembrance lights and glow sticks was a humble reminder of the reason she relays.
“The theme of Relay for Life is to celebrate, remember, fight back,” Ward said. “Luminaria is the ceremony at night that sort of represents the remember part. We light the word HOPE and then change it to CURE as a symbol of our fight.”