By DANIELLA JACONELLI
The largest fundraising event on UT’s campus, Relay For Life, is coming up in just under a month, and the Relay committee and teams are hard at work. Relay For Life will be held on April 23, at Pepin Stadium from 3 p.m. until 5 a.m. the next morning. The event brings not only the UT community together, but also the city of Tampa.
Preparation is a key to this event’s success each year. Every year, committee meetings start as early as October and go until the week of the event.
“Countless hours of communication, creativity, and hard work from the planning committee [go into planning Relay for Life],” said Leah Kedzuf, a senior entrepreneurship major and event co-lead for Relay for Life. “Honestly, we couldn’t do it without them.”
Relay For Life is an organized, overnight fundraising walk created by the American Cancer Society. Before the event, teams are put together and are to raise money towards the fight for cancer. This year, UT has put together 56 teams, and has 858 members participating in the event so far.
Within those 56 teams, 21 of them are Greek-letter organizations at UT. Each year the Greek-life community participates in the event, and set goals for how much money they would like to raise. Out of the top 10 teams whom have raised the most money for this year’s event, six of those are Greek-life chapters here at UT.
“I’m very passionate about Relay For Life because my grandfather was affected and died from cancer,” said Marie Doffermyre, junior, Relay committee member and member of Delta Zeta, which has fundraised over $2800 so far. “I have enjoyed being on the committee because it made me want to find a cure for cancer more than I already do, and I’ve met a lot of people through the committee as well.”
Relay for Life is also movie-themed this year, therefore each team will have a different movie to portray. Each team is welcome to wear shirts representing the movie, make signs, decorate their tents, etc. Some movies, Greek life chapters are themed as are, Monsters Inc., Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Blue Mountain State, Air Bud, and The Great Gatsby.
“I’ve participated in this event since my freshman year at UT, and enjoyed it every time,” said Marissa Nece, senior and member of Delta Gamma. “It’s so much fun, and brings the whole UT and Tampa community together for a great cause.”
Preparation for Relay For Life also involves the community outside of our University. Members of the committee, mainly the survivor/caregiver recruiters, go out into the community and search for people who have survived cancer, are newly diagnosed, or care for someone who is affected by the disease. Their mission is to try and get those in the community to walk in the event, donate, or even do the virtual walk online. They also have hung up fliers at the YMCA and the Ronald McDonald House.
So far, $47,063.42 has been raised for the event, with the goal set at $107,000. If they can reach the goal, this would be the first time UT surpasses $100,000.
To market this event around campus, Relay For Life tabled at Welcome Week back in Fall 2015, as well as at the ORG Fair.
“Participants and visitors should look forward to a lot of fun activities and entertainment! As well as our theme Lights Camera CURE and a shortened event time. We will start at 3PM instead of 1PM, that is less time in the Florida heat,” Kedzuf said. “My favorite part about Relay is seeing the entire UT community come together and stay up all night to help raise money to find a cure for cancer. The feeling is indescribable.”