The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Relay raises money for cancer research

Aaron Steiner | Friday, October 27, 2006

The University community will gather tonight to celebrate the progress of cancer research and raise money to advance the fight against cancer in Notre Dame’s fourth annual Relay for Life. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Stepan Center and stretches until Saturday at 10 a.m.

The two-day, one-night event is one of thousands of Relays that happen nationwide and serve as fundraisers for the American Cancer Society.

Last year more than 1,000 students, faculty and staff raised roughly $100,000. This year, Dee Dee Sterling and Jessica Brookshire – two of the event’s four co-chairs – expect a similar turnout, but the goal is to exceed last year’s total donations.

In terms of both participation and money raised, Brookshire said Notre Dame ranks “probably in the top 10” of all other college Relay events.

Relay teams, including residence halls and academic departments, raised funds in creative ways, Brookshire said. One team of Holy Cross priests put on an event called “Priests on Wheels” which featured team members riding tricycles for donations. Different departmental and staff teams have organized Blue Jean Fridays, and Food Services again held a Pie Sale as a fundraiser. Online donations through the event’s Web site also constitute a significant part of the funds raised, Sterling said.

With incentives such as a free semester of books for the student who raises the most money, and a pair of free round-trip airline tickets for the staff member with the most funds raised, fundraising has always been successful for this event, the co-chairs said.

Substantial support from the University has also contributed to the event’s success, Sterling said. Notre Dame has many ties to the American Cancer Society, Brookshire said, noting that Provost Thomas Burish sits on the Cancer Society’s National Board of Directors.

Students and staff support the cause for many different reasons, Sterling said.

“[Cancer] hits all of us in a different way,” she said, whether participants are fighting cancer, know someone with the illness, are survivors, or know someone who has lost a battle with cancer.

Relay for Life is one way for these people affected by cancer to gather and support the fight against the disease.

“The event provides a great visual of people caring,” Sterling said.