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Fordham Holds Its Annual Party With a Purpose: ‘Relay for Life’

Annual Event Raised $22,000 to Help the American Cancer Society in Their Fight Against Cancer


Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 02:04

Photo by Tom Merante/The Ram

Two students battle it out in the blow-up jousting area set up as one of the activities held during the Relay for Life event.

The origin of the American Cancer Society’s “Relay for Life” event shows that it only takes one person to make a difference, but the progress of the organization proves that the help of others makes an even bigger impact.

In the 1980s, Gorsy Klatt, a Tacoma, WA colorectal surgeon, wanted to raise funds for his local American Cancer Society office to show support for his patients who had battled cancer. He decided to take it upon himself to personally raise the money for the fight against cancer.

In May 1985, Dr. Klatt spent a full 24 hours circling the track at Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, totaling over 83 miles. 300 of his friends came to show their support and throughout the night friends donated money in order to walk a lap with him. By the end of the day, over $27,000 was raised to help in this fight. The next year, in 1986, 19 teams participated in the event.

Fordham’s own Christina Diaz and Lorenzo Ferrigno, both FCRH ’12, have enlisted in this battle by serving as the chairs of Relay at Fordham. This past Friday, April 20, was the fifth annual Relay for Life at Fordham. The American Cancer Society was extremely grateful for all of those at Fordham who helped make this year’s Relay possible.

“I want to thank the administration, the Relay committee and all the participating students,” Jillian Ladouceaur, the American Cancer Society staff partner for Fordham, said. “The passion of everyone involved is what makes the events so successful and amazing.”

This “party with a purpose” featured DJ Pat McCarren, GSB’14, the Satin Dolls, the Ramblers and the b-Sides. Additionally, all of the teams set up booths around the track with a large assortment of New York-themed goodies, such as a Dylan’s Candy Bar and a hot dog street vendor. The event was considered a success by all who attended.

“One fun success was that we did a ‘Stop the Bop’ lap,” Michelle Ioannou, FCRH ’13, said, “where DJ Pat McCarren played Hanson's ‘Mmm Bop’ until we raised $50—which was done in under 10 minutes.”

In addition to the performance groups, the event schedule also included a basketball knockout tournament, a ‘frozen t-shirt’ competition, a scavenger hunt, class pride laps, a volleyball tournament and a toilet paper fashion show. The activities kept all the participants busy and lively while they relayed from 5p.m.-1a.m.

Many different departments and organizations helped make Relay possible. Diaz and Ferrigno wanted to especially thank the FCRH Dean’s Office, Fordham IT, Matt Lee GSB ’12, Beta Alpha Psi and all the clubs that helped and the businesses that donated items for the raffle. 

“We are lucky to have had their continuous support,” Ferrigno said. “We also want to wish Michelle Ioannou the best of luck next year as the new Event Chair.”

When walking around the track, one thing that truly made the space different than any other day was the luminaria ceremony. The track was lined with remembrances in honor of someone who has or had cancer.

“They serve as a reminder as to who we are fighting for and why we are walking,” Ioannou said.

Every year at Relay during this ceremony, there is a caregiver speech given by someone who has had a loved one fight cancer. After this portion, everyone participates in a silent lap. This year, Ferrigno presented a Powerpoint of all the names and pictures of those honored in the luminaria ceremony. It helped make the whole event more personal for everyone participating.

The committee was very pleased with the progress of Relay for Life.

“I am definitely proud that we made over $22,000!” Ioannou said. “I am even more proud of everyone’s hard work, and I am honored to serve as the new chair next year.”

Donations are being accepted up until August 31, so it is not too late to still make a donation. If you are interested in serving on the committee next year, Ioannou encourages anyone to reach out by e-mailing [email protected]  

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