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Committee raises funds to support Relay for Life

Meghan Thomassen | Monday, March 26, 2012

Students will see purple this week as the campus fundraises for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, scheduled for April 27 and 28 at Notre Dame Stadium.

As part of Purple Week, purple hair extensions will be sold for $10 at the Coleman-Morse Center on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Students are encouraged to wear purple Thursday to show support for those battling cancer, survivors, their families and those who have been lost to the disease.

Senior Ali Vos, student chair for the Relay for Life committee, said the dining halls will serve purple food Thursday in honor of Purple Week.

“[The dining hall staff] have so much fun making the food purple for us,” she said. “There will be a lot of purple, like purple mashed potatoes and purple icing on desserts.”

Vos said faculty members will take part in the color overhaul by decorating their offices with purple crepe paper and participating in the relay itself.

“[Participation is] well split between students, staff and faculty, pretty much whoever is on campus,” she said.

Teams of students, faculty and staff will occupy the stadium overnight as they walk to support the fight against cancer, Vos said. This will be the eighth year Relay for Life occurs at Notre Dame and the third year it takes place in the Stadium.

Vos said more than 1,200 people registered for the event in 2011. She said each team typically has at least one member walking around the Stadium through the night.

“It’s really fun,” Vos said. “You gather in the stadium for the gathering ceremony and walk around the Stadium all night.”

Vos said Fr. Paul Doyle, C.S.C., assistant rector of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, will speak and the Notre Dame Marching Band will perform at this year’s opening ceremony.

“There’s also a Luminaria Ceremony to remember those who have been lost and honor those who are still fighting,” she said.

Relay for Life has been successful in the past, Vos said. She said the event raised $160,000 last year and was among the top five fundraising sectors in the nation.

“Every year we have more students come and raise more money than before, and they have a lot of fun,” Vos said.

This will be Vos’s second year as the student chair for Relay. She said she started planning Relay for Life with a committee, comprised mostly of faculty and staff, at the beginning of the semester.

“I love the event,” she said. “I think it’s a cool way for the campus to come together as a group and fight for this cause … Unfortunately, a lot of people know someone who has been affected or who had cancer.”

Vos said besides contributing to a good cause, students have an extra incentive to raise money, as the top fundraiser will receive a free semester of books, compliments of the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore.  

“The fee [to participate] is only $10, and you get a T-shirt and admission into the event,” Vos said.

Relay was originally held in Stepan Center but was moved to the Stadium during Vos’s sophomore year, she said.

“It’s a lot more exciting,” she said. “When else do you get to sleep in the Stadium and watch the sunset on the concourse?”

Students can register until the day of the event at relay.org/ndin.