Each spring, Pace University’s College Against Cancer has the challenge of keeping people up all night during the annual Relay for Life on campus.
The group’s leaders brainstormed on how to keep attendees engaged for most of the 12-hour event, starting at 5 p.m. this Friday.
Tamilee Webb, the school’s College Against Cancer secretary, said since September students have worked on preparing for the event, including devising a theme.
“We want to keep people awake and moving,” Webb said.
This year organizers chose a casino night theme for the event that takes place at the Goldstein Fitness Center. The opening ceremony starts at 6 p.m. with the survivors reception immediately following. While students from the university usually account for most of the participants, people of all ages from the surrounding area are also welcome to join.
Webb, a senior and a member of the school’s volleyball team, has been involved with College Against Cancer and Relay for Life each year she has attended Pace. Already $34,000 has been raised this year, with a goal of bringing in at least $50,000.
Webb estimated that more than 1,000 students attend the event at some point during the evening, along with staff, faculty, local survivors and community members.
Originally, Webb signed up because the volleyball team had a table at the event. Her roommate also pushed her to get involved. She stayed committed after knowing several people diagnosed with cancer. One of them was her mother’s best friend who succumbed after battling breast and lung cancer.
“So watching that whole ordeal, watching her go from healthy to really sick and dying like that, I felt really bad, and they do a Relay for Life for her in Mount Vernon so I helped in that Relay, too,” Webb said. “Whenever I can help, I do.”
Webb encourages anyone to get involved whether they are part of the university or not. She estimated about 20 percent of participants aren’t students, a number Webb and the rest of the organization would be more than happy to see rise.
“Everyone should come. It’s a great event. It’s a lot of fun,” Webb said. “Kids even have fun. It’s not just adults, it’s not just college students. We try to make Relay for every single person.”
Community members seeking more information about how they can participate in this Friday’s Relay for Life can contact Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org or its president Nora Rugova at email@example.com.