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Campus to relay for cancer cure

Marisa Iati | Friday, April 29, 2011

About 75 teams of students, faculty and staff will last from sunset to sunrise in Notre Dame Stadium during Notre Dame’s seventh annual Relay for Life, which supports the American Cancer Society (ACS) and will offer free food and a variety events from 6 p.m. until 9 a.m. Saturday.

“Support of the 2011 event plays an important role in furthering the American Cancer Society’s mission of eliminating cancer through research, education, advocacy and patient services,” said Lori Chaney, Notre Dame’s Relay for Life fundraising coordinator. “Our current goals are to help improve the quality of life for cancer patients and their families, as well as to reduce cancer mortality by 50 percent and incidence by 25 percent by 2015.”

The Fire Fighting Irish, comprised of members of the Notre Dame Fire Department (NDFD), was the top fundraising team. They sold 2,500 T-shirts, sweatshirts, baseball caps and knit caps with the NDFD logo, team captain Mary Weigle said. The apparel sales earned more than $15,000 for ACS.

“We’ve been doing [the apparel sales] now for about five years, and over the years it has grown,” Weigle said. “We started out just selling T-shirts to people who would walk into the firehouse. Before you knew it, we were mailing them all over the place.”

The top student fundraising team, the Pasquerilla East Pyros, sold 130 themed T-shirts to raise money, captain Katie Marshall said. Team members submitted the names of people for whom they wanted to relay and the names were written in a spiral on the backs of the shirts. Each shirt also bears the image of an eternal flame as a symbol for the team.

“Since we’re the Pyros, we thought [the image of the eternal flame] was fitting,” Marshall said.

About 50 members of the Pasquerilla East Pyros emailed their friends and families to ask for donations, Marshall said. The email solicitations and the T-shirt sales earned more than $9,000 for ACS.

Megan Hrdlicka, captain of the second-highest student fundraising team, Ryan Hall Relay, said her team raised money by wrapping gifts at the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore at the end of the fall semester, collecting money at Ryan Hall masses and organizing several bake sales. The team earned approximately$1,200 through these fundraisers, she said.

“I think this year our goals were to expand Ryan’s presence at Relay, have a strong showing [and] kind of establish our place in the event as a dorm,” Hrdlicka said.

Team Book ‘Em is holding its first annual Jail ‘n Bail fundraiser today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Notre Dame Security Police Lt. George Heeter said. The team is comprised of members from the Notre Dame Security Police, McKenna Hall, the Hesburgh Library, the Morris Inn and the Bookstore.

Students, faculty and staff can arrange for uniformed police and security officers to “arrest” someone and take him or her to a fake jail in Notre Dame Stadium, Heeter said. All proceeds from the $25 arrest fees support Relay for Life.

“We actually pick the person up, put the cuffs on them and take them to the stadium jail,” Heeter said. “They have to stay there for a maximum of a half hour. If they don’t want to go to jail, they can purchase a ‘get out of jail free’ card for a minimum of $5.”

Heeter said he is excited about the generosity of the Jail ‘n Bail participants.

“To get 20 people at $25 dollars per person, that’s over $500,” he said. “I’m thankful people are willing to participate and spend their hard-earned money for such a good cause.”

Marshall said the part of Relay for Life she is most looking forward to is the Luminaria Ceremony.

“It’s this really great part of the event where we honor all the people that we know who have had cancer,” she said. “Generally, they have the bagpipes [play], and it’s a very beautiful moment.”

Hrdlicka said she is excited about the support she received from the members of her dorm.

“Relay for Life is a very personal cause for me,” she said. “It’s going to be neat to have everyone at the event to represent our dorm.”

Weigle said Relay for Life holds special significance for her.

“The gentleman I’m dating is a cancer survivor and he was asked to walk a lap, so that’s probably going to be a good point for me the day of the event,” she said. “I’m also looking forward to everybody supporting people who have had cancer and continually trying to strive to find a cure.”