For 24 hours, UCSB students and members of the local community will take to the track this weekend to combat cancer.
The UCSB Relay for Life, taking place this Saturday, is a campus American Cancer Society division fundraising event in which various teams have at least one person walking on the UCSB track during a 24-hour period. The teams are typically comprised of UCSB student clubs, greek organizations and community businesses. According to the American Cancer Society Web site, 88 teams and 1,002 participants have already registered for the UCSB relay, with $43,660.23 raised thus far.
Brittany Enos, ACS intern and fourth-year communication major, said the constant presence of a team member on the track is representative of the nature of cancer.
“This is supposed to represent the fact that cancer never sleeps and neither do we,” Enos said. “As of now, there is no end in sight. It’s a battle that some people fight forever.”
Last year’s event raised $86,000. Marketing Chair Jenna Maine said she expects this year’s relay to raise $95,000.
Cancer survivors will lead the opening lap around the track. At 9 p.m., the fluorescent lights towering over the UCSB track will be replaced by the subdued glow of luminaries – glow stick illuminated bags – for the Ceremony of Hope honoring individuals who have passed away from cancer.
Alexis Reilly, a first-year psychology major and cancer survivor, organized the Ceremony of Hope this year. Reilly said the ceremony will feature three UCSB students speaking about their own personal experiences with cancer.
“I think that it’s a really cool thing for college students to join together and identify with those on campus who have cancer,” Reilly said. “It’s really moving to see how invested college students are in this.”
Jason Weiss-Calamar, Relay for Life co-chairperson and third-year student, will also be on the track this Saturday and Sunday. Weiss-Calamar said he will walk in remembrance of his father who passed away from cancer last fall.
“I do relay because of my dad and he’ll definitely be in my thoughts during relay,” Weiss-Calamar said. “I guess once you know someone with cancer, you just see the impact it has on a family. It makes everything that the relay does all the more important.”
Donations for the UCSB Relay for Life will be accepted online through Sunday, May 4, at http://events.cancer.org/rflucsantabarbaraca.