The Syracuse University Relay for Life event was held in the Carrier Dome on April 10th. Relay for Life consists of teams of up to 15 people where at least one person per team is walking around the Dome at all times. SU Relay for Life co-advocacy chair, co-advocacy chair, Justin Cole, says this is to symbolize that "Cancer never sleeps so neither will we." The event started at six in the evening, and ended at six in the morning.
During the event, a one hour ceremony called the Luminaria was held to honor people that are currently battling cancer, and those that have lost that battle. Inside of the Carrier Dome was completely dark during the Luminaria except for decorated white bags with glow sticks inside them to honor cancer victims. These bags lined the track where people walked, and everyone remained silent.
Gina Blaszka, a sophomore at Syracuse University, was one Relay for Life participant that had a bag in honor of a loved one. Gina's mother, Judy Blaszka, had a rare form of ovarian cancer and passed away on October 23rd. Gina says that while she enjoyed the Luminaria ceremony, it was the most difficult part of Relay for her.
"Last year I remember thinking I could never imagine if my bag turns from 'In support of' to 'In memory of'," said Gina. "Just the fact that that's what my bag said really hit home."
The Syracuse Relay for Life raised $153,110 this year. This was the most ever announced at a Syracuse University Relay for Life. As Betsy Guilfoil, the Event Manager and American Cancer Society representative, explained, Syracuse University is known for having a successful Relay each year.
"Syracuse University Relay for Life is definitely the largest within the Central New York area," said Guilfoil. "Last year they were given an award, they were one of the top five in the country."
For an audio version of the story, click here.