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Relay helps raise funds

Meg Mirshak | Monday, April 28, 2008

In a spirit of celebration and remembrance, the Notre Dame community walked together as the Fighting Irish Fighting Cancer in the fifth annual Relay for Life.

“The goal of Relay for Life is to raise awareness about cancer because it really is a disease that affects us all,” public relations chair Adam Lamm said.

The event, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, honors and remembers victims of cancer. Although the final total has not been released, students, faculty and staff collected over $50,000 in donations according to the Relay for Life Web site. The final total will be much higher after corporate donations are included.

The Relay for Life was held on South Quad between Badin Hall and the Rockne Memorial Gymnasium.

“The location was really good, in the center of student life on campus,” chair of the Student Committee Chris Pingel said.

Traditionally, Relay for Life is an overnight event, symbolizing that cancer endures. However, the event was scheduled to end at 1 a.m. in observance of University policy that mandates quiet behavior in and around residencies beginning at 2 a.m. on weekends. Inclement weather also forced organizers to end the event earlier.

“The rain really only cost us our final ceremony,” Pingel said.

When the final totals are completed, the two students raising the most money will be awarded with free textbooks for a semester from the Hammes Bookstore.

The Notre Dame women’s soccer team raised over $7,500 in donations, representing the most raised by any participating team.

“I think everyone knows someone who has had cancer. You can say that you are doing [Relay for Life] for a person and you know where your money is going,” sophomore soccer player Rachel VanderGenugten said.

More than 500 people participated in the event, including teams comprised of residence halls and athletic teams to University Health Services and the Physics Department. Most teams coordinated a walking schedule so that participants could enjoy other activities at the event.

In addition to pledges made for walking, the event featured other fundraisers that contributed to team totals such as the Notre Dame Security/Police’s (NDSP) chicken barbeque Friday afternoon at the Stepan Center.

A silent auction was also held during the event and the proceeds will be credited to the final fundraising total. Autographed sports memorabilia, tickets to a Chicago Cubs baseball game and a trip to Las Vegas were among auctioned items.