Over a thousand Good Samaritans raised nearly $78,000 for the American Cancer Society this weekend by walking, running and jogging through the night at UCSB’s 6th annual Relay For Life.

Intended to support the fight against cancer and to commemorate the lives of cancer victims and survivors, the 24-hour relay saw over 1,400 participants crowd the UCSB track on Friday and Saturday. Live music, rap battles and games such as Bull Pong – a non-alcoholic version of Beer Pong played with Red Bull energy drinks – kept participants alert throughout the long hours of the night.

Event planner Katie LaValley, a fourth-year biological chemistry major, said she was astonished by how successful Relay for Life has become over the years.

“Six years ago we started with $1500 and one tent, and now look how we have grown,” LaValley said. “Despite the difficult recession occurring, people continue to contribute and fight against cancer.”

For the overnight fundraiser, participants had to form relay teams so they could take turns on the track throughout the entirety of the 24-hour charity drive. Prior to the event’s start, there were 119 online teams registered for the UCSB Relay for Life.

A highlight of the night, many relay participants said, was the ‘Ceremony of Hope’ at 9 p.m. The track was lined with illuminated bags of glow sticks spelling out messages that paid honor to cancer victims. A few cancer survivors then made speeches and joined to run a final lap.

T-cell lymphoma survivor Nick Galicia, a third-year business economics major, ran the remembrance lap on crutches due to a broken toe.

“Cancer never takes a break, so neither can I,” Galicia said.

Galicia, who was diagnosed with cancer in the second grade, said because the disease was the only thing he had known for so long, the idea of a “normal life” without it scared him.

“The thing I was most afraid of was that once the cancer was defeated, I would have a normal life and not be held back from school,” Galicia said.

Meanwhile, The Breast Cancer Resource Center of Santa Barbara collaborated with UCSB’s Hermanos Unidos to donate pink bands, with the proceeds going to cancer research.

Jose Delgado, community service chair for Hermanos Unidos, said it was important to provide emotional support to those suffering from the disease.

“As men of this university, we choose to endorse awareness of breast cancer so that women don’t feel alone in their struggle to overcome,” Delgado, a fourth-year Spanish and education major, said. “Even though this cancer does not affect us directly, we stand by them.”

According to the American Cancer Society web page, Relay for Life has had more than 3.5 million people from 4,900 communities around the world join the overnight event this year.