Participants of UNH’s 14th annual Relay for Life laced up their shoes for the 18 hour fundraiser designed to raise money for cancer research and treatment in support of all those who have been impacted cancer.
The event, hosted in the Whittemore Center, began on Saturday afternoon and ended Sunday at 6 a.m..
UNH’s football head coach Sean McDonnell started the event off with an opening speech that emphasized the importance of outreach of Relay for Life. His speech spoke of personal encounters with the disease through his friends and family, emphasizing the positive change a single caregiver can have in the fight against cancer.
Relay for Life is the university’s largest fundraising event of the year, which showed through the 67 registered teams, and over 1,000 registered participants who included multiple fraternities and sororities, student organizations and more.
“At UNH we have Greek Life, student organizations, majors and resident halls all creating teams which can really help strengthen bonds with those you might not normally create,” senior communication sciences and disorders major and event chair, McKenzie Baker, said.“An event like this really brings local communities and the UNH community together.”
Around 9 p.m., the Luminaria ceremony assumed the Whittemore Center, allowing the remaining hundreds of participants to recall their reasons for participating in Relay for Life. The luminaria, which were bags either in honor or support of individuals affected by cancer, surrounded the track and stayed aglow for the silent hour in which the participants lapped the track.
On one side of the arena, the luminaria were spread out to spell “CURE,” and on the opposite side they were arranged to spell out “HOPE,” which, according to the committee, displayed the aspirations of the event.
At the beginning of the event, combining registration fees and independent donations, the UNH Relay raised just under $80,000. At the event’s conclusion an additional $12,000 had been raised, bringing the total to $92,132.85. According to event coordinators, more donations will come in over the course of the next few days, bringing it close to the $100,000 goal for this year.
“This truly is a disease that we have all been affected by, and we are able to work together to fight for a common purpose; to put cancer in the history books,” Baker said. “I relay because so many people have benefitted because of events such as these. I truly am proud to be a part of this event, and am even prouder of my committee who has worked all year long preparing for this weekend.”