Brandon Chase- Managing Editor
Lasell held its third annual Relay for Life from April 26-27 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. More than 20 teams and 100 students participated in the event in the Athletic Center, which raised more than $14,000 for cancer research.
Relay for Life president and senior Holly Irvin kicked things off by addressing those in attendance and sharing her story of how cancer has affected her life. Irvin’s younger brother, Noah, was born with a cancerous brain tumor which eventually took away his sight. Miraculously, through the help of new cancer treatments, Noah was able to start walking at age 11. He is now 13. He, along with fellow cancer survivor Nancy Granger, the mother of Director of Student Activities and Orientation Jenny Granger, led all the teams out onto the track for the event’s first lap.
The MCs for the night, juniors Diane Coon and Kevin Moloney, kept the crowd energized and in good spirits throughout the 12-hour stretch. When team members weren’t walking the track, they could be found participating in activities such as a pie-eating contest, playing musical chairs, and even dancing to Zumba at 5 a.m.
“I loved at 3 a.m. when we had a dance party spontaneously. That was just a great time. Bonding with people I don’t get a chance to made me happy as well,” said Coon.
A spur-of-the-moment Relay for Life “Harlem Shake” video was made in the wee hours of the morning in the midst of all the dancing.
Some participants also symbolically walked 26.2 miles throughout the event as a tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, including freshmen Gaby Povolotsky and Lyndsey Charette, and juniors Justine McCorkle, and Chelsea Zeig. Zeig was given the award at the end of the Relay for walking the most laps.
“It was no surprise that Chelsea walked a marathon. That’s just who she is. Determined and driven… and silly. Everything relay is about,” Coon said.
One of the more moving ceremonies of the night was the traditional Relay for Life Luminaria ceremony, where walkers honor loved ones who have fought cancer. The Athletic Center was darkened for a lap, illuminated only by bags with glow sticks in them decorated in remembrance of cancer victims and survivors. Freshman Jen Pratka, who lost her father to cancer in 2009, said the Luminaria ceremony was a way for her to finally pay tribute to him.
“Creating the bag for my father just meant a lot to me because we never really had a proper wake for him and there was never a funeral,” said Pratka. “Four years later it was sort of like I finally truly payed some sort of tribute to him with the Luminaria bag and putting in the glow stick, which made the event mean even more to me. Before we walked the Luminaria lap, I thought it was really nice how they broke up breaking the glow sticks by who in your life had been touched with cancer. It was really comforting in some strange way to see how many people in that room went through things just like you did,” Pratka said.
Some students, including freshman Eliza Hellier and junior Flannagh Fitzsimmons bravely took the center stage to speak about ‘why they Relay’ and how seeing a family member battle cancer has touched their lives. At the end of the event, Hellier’s team raised the most money,taking in $1,445 for cancer research.