Nearly $86,000 was collected for the American Cancer Society this past weekend, after close to 1,000 joggers and walkers participated in UCSB’s fourth annual Relay For Life.
About 72 teams made their way around the UCSB track from 1 p.m. on Saturday until Sunday at noon. One student, fourth-year film & media studies major Bee-oh Kim, ran 100 miles nonstop in about 22 hours in memory of his grandfather who succumbed to the disease years earlier.
“My grandpa passed away five or six years ago,” Kim said. “For 24 hours of my life, I want[ed] to feel the pain that he and other cancer victims felt.”
Event planner and fourth-year communication major Monique Walker said the event accumulated donations quickly.
“We started out at 12 p.m. with $73,000,” Walker said. “In four hours, at 4 p.m., we had $80,000.”
The relay began with speeches by several cancer survivors, followed by a “survivor lap,” during which survivors marched around the track behind a banner and a bagpipe player.
Afterward, participants either walked or jogged around the track, while the teams camped on the grassy area in the center of the field.
Event planner Jaimie Thomas said Relay For Life is meant to be symbolic of the constant struggles cancer patients must endure.
“Cancer never sleeps, so we walk for 24 hours,” Thomas said. “By 3 a.m. it’s getting harder, but when dawn comes, you are able to persevere.”
The event drew many different groups, including teams made up of student clubs, greek organizations and local businesses.
Third-year law & society major Andrew Ditlevsen, of the Del Playa Ballers, said this was his second relay and that he was especially pleased that the weather had improved since last year’s event.
“Last year, I walked at four in the morning in the rain,” he said as he walked in the afternoon sun. “It’s great to [do] something for a cause, and I think more people should get involved.”
During the latter hours of the relay, individual teams put on events to entertain the participants, including games of Monster pong, a variation on beer pong, root beer flip cup and “Relay Idol,” a spoof on “American Idol,” Walker said.
According to Walker, one of the most memorable parts of the event was the luminaria ceremony, during which glow sticks were lit to commemorate cancer victims.
“The ceremony was extremely emotional,” Walker said. “But it showed how much this means to everyone.”
Given the amount of money raised at the event, Thomas said she expects a larger sum for next year’s relay.
“Last year, we made $65,000,” she said. “Our goal for this year was $75,000, and since we made so much more than that, we’ll probably be aiming for over $100,000 next year.”