This year, the Plattsburgh State chapter of Colleges Against Cancer is hosting the ninth-annual Relay for Life April 24 at the PSUC Fieldhouse from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
The PSUC chapter of CAC was founded five years ago after two PSUC students, Aimee Chauvot and Kara Strang, went to the local branch of the American Cancer Society and approached its manager, Joan Sterling. Strang, a field hockey player, wanted to bring the Relay event to Plattsburgh because her teammate’s mother had been given a cancer diagnosis.
“They wanted to start it in honor of her,” Sterling said.
From there, the three teamed up to build a committee, convince PSUC campus groups such as the Fieldhouse, security and food services to participate in putting on the event and gain support from the college. After a successful few years of Relay, Sterling and the students involved decided to bring a chapter of CAC to PSUC. This group continues to be the driving force for the annual event.
“We are dedicated to fighting back against cancer and raising awareness about cancer prevention and education,” PSUC senior and Relay Chair Emilie Murphy said. “We host Relay for Life, and it’s to highlight the 12 hours of what it means to be up all night, because cancer never sleeps.”
Murphy said she joined CAC during her sophomore year of college because of her oldest cousin’s initial diagnosis and subsequent death.
“That pushed me to join something that really hit home.” Murphy said. “Although we can’t cure cancer by ourselves, we can join the bigger effort and raise tens of thousands of dollars to research and help find a cure.”
Alongside Murphy, junior and CAC member Gabby Blasko said the group’s goal was $50,000 last year, and they raised nearly $47,000. However, narrowly missing their goal hasn’t stopped them.
“We didn’t hit our goal, but we were pretty close,” Blasko said. “This year, our goal is $55,000. At first, it is slow with fundraising, but every time I check it — which is daily — we are $1,000 ahead of where we were last time.”
Approximately $27,000 has been raised so far.
This year’s Relay theme is board games. The committee is attempting to make the 12-hour event more fun than it has been in previous years with activities such as life-size Jenga and Twister, giving participants a sense of nostalgia and allowing them to enter an imaginary world as they walk onto the track.
This extravagant theme has called for the creation of a decorating committee with the goal of ensuring each and every person can identify the theme as soon as he or she walks into the Fieldhouse.
Blasko said Dance Corps, the Korean Association and the Hula Hoop Club are just a few of the clubs that will perform throughout the night.
Murphy recalled her kindergarten days hula-hooping.
“It was something that I liked to do, so I think that’s another childhood activity that most of us participated in, even now,” Murphy said. “I think it ties together with the theme, and it doesn’t involve an iPad, computer or cell phone.”
“One thing that we are really trying to promote is it’s not just an overnight party,” Sterling said. “It is a fundraiser, and we are raising funds to make a difference.”
Donations can be made until mid-August online, or checks can be sent to the American Cancer Society.
“Any donation is helpful,” Murphy said. “We rely on thousands of people that register and fundraise for this event. We can’t make it happen ourselves.”
To register for the April 24 event or donate, go to relayforlife.org/sunyplattsburghny.
Email Lisa Scivolette at firstname.lastname@example.org