Loyola hosts Relay For Life kickoff

A Loyola volunteer with Relay for Life T-shirts.
Photo by Anjali Lakha.

By Anjali Lakha and John Bolz

Loyola University Chicago’s Colleges Against Cancer organization held a kickoff event on Tuesday evening for this year’s Relay For Life.

Students gathered in the Centennial Forum Student Union to sign up for the 2013 Relay For Life event, which is scheduled for April 12, 2013.

Relay For Life involves teams of 8-15 people who take turns walking or running around a track all night long.  Team members camp out on the surrounding grounds for the duration of the event to enjoy music, food, fun, entertainment and activities while building camaraderie with fellow teammates and participants. Money is raised through
team commitment fees and each team member is asked to raise a specific amount of money prior to the event.

The Loyola Kick Off event included multiple computers for students to register their teams with, free hand-outs, a station to register as a bone marrow donor, and featured two cancer survivors as guest speakers.

The first speaker, Sam Roberson, 29, was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of 8 and spoke about what it is like to go through such a life altering experience.

“It’s like being sucked into a black hole,” he said. “You can’t see any way out and you have no idea how much time is left on the clock.”

As students signed up for the event, a cancer survivor was honored at the event as he spoke about his experience with battling leukemia.

“Because of my donor I am alive and cancer-free. Her generosity has allowed me to call myself a survivor. I love seeing all of you being involved with such an important cause,” said Luis Monzon, 27, cancer survivor of three years.
Many students came out to sign up for Relay For Life to support family members.

“I do Relay for my family, because my family has been affected by it. My brother and sister introduced it to me when I was in eighth grade. I was team captain for four years in high school and then I got involved at Loyola,” shared Jeremy Johnson, 20, a junior biology major.

A student at Loyola that has been in remission for 2 years now was honored that Loyola’s Colleges Against Cancer hosted Relay For Life.

“I heard about Relay through my hospital and then came to Loyola and got involved. Relay For Life is an amazing event. I really appreciate the way survivors are honored,” said Elyse Reed, 18, a freshman nursing major.

Ryann Kehoe, 26, Income Development Coordinator of the American Cancer Society, works closely with Loyola’s Colleges Against Cancer members to organize Relay For Life.

“ I’ve been on staff at ACS for two years and have since been working with Loyola.It’s going really well, we already have 300 participants. Today has been very successful and it’s exciting that people have been signing up since morning. I have high hopes for Loyola’s Relay For Life this year,”  Kehoe said.

Relay for Life is a worldwide event which takes place in over 20 different countries with more than 4 million annual participants who raise donations in order to help fund cancer research and treatment, according to its website,

Marissa Giannangeli, 21, a senior advertisement and public relations major and a committee member of the Loyola organization Colleges Against Cancer said that expectations are high for this year’s Relay for Life.

“Our fundraising goal is $100,000 which is the largest that we’ve ever had. We are usually in the $30,000s so our goal is a lot bigger,” she said.

According to Loyola’s Relay for Life website, more than 40 teams have already signed up with a total of 460 participants.


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