SAAC holds rally to promote upcoming Relay For Life
By Eli Enis
March 10, 2015
The Students of Albany Against Cancer (SAAC) club held a “Relay for Life Rally” in the Campus Center ballroom on Tuesday to promote the upcoming Relay for Life, a national event sponsored by the American Cancer Society held annually to raise money and awareness for cancer research.
SAAC is responsible for organizing the University at Albany relay, which is the biggest student-led event on campus. Last year the relay had a turnout of more than 1,400 students and raised over $60,000 for cancer research.
Tuesday’s event featured speeches about the relay and how students can get involved, as well as free food and beverages, games, and a performance by UAlbany’s dance team Under Construction. The theme of this year’s rally, which will be on April 25, is “Hollywood.”
“Relay Rally is basically an event to get people excited about Relay For Life in April,” Taylor Clynne said, the president of SAAC.
“It’s a big collaboration deciding how we want it to be. It’s what we plan during our committee meetings every week,” she said.
The relay lasts 15 hours lasts from 3 p.m. to 6 a.m. and not only raises money, but also celebrates those who have lost their lives, are currently battling, or have survived cancer. Participants form teams set up “campsites,” or tables, throughout the SEFCU Arena. At least one member from each team is expected to be walking or jogging around the arena’s track at all times in order to symbolize that “cancer never sleeps.”
“People have on-sight fundraisers at their tables and there’s performances and different ceremonies,” said Clynne.
“The whole idea is [based] around the slogan ‘celebrate, remember, fight back’. Celebrate the ones who have won their battle, remember those who have lost theirs, and fight back for those who can possibly have cancer in the future,” she said.
Relay For Life has been taking place nationally for 30 years and continues to grow every year on the UAlbany campus. Since it began 11 years ago, UAlbany students have collectively raised over $700,000.
“Last year we raised about $60,000. That was considered a low year for us. This year our goal is $100,000 and we’ve beaten that before, so we think we can do it,” Clynne said.
Natalie Turner, one of the 50 members of SAAC, said she’s been participating in Relay For Life events since she was in high school in Poughkeepsie, New York.
“It’s for a really good cause. It’s really good to fight back against a disease that affects so many people,” she said. “You really can make a difference. We raise hundreds of thousands of dollars and it goes towards people who need it.”
Clynne said that Relay For Life is not only for a good cause, but also a fun social event unlike any other on the UAlbany campus.
“[Relay is] something that brings people together and brings our campus together. It’s such a good feeling of campus community. Everyone’s together for one cause. It’s a great, fun way to hang out with your friends, clubs or sororities all in one place,” she said.
“Basically everyone has been affected by cancer in some way,” she said. But if SAAC and Relay For Life continue to gain members and raise money, they will be able to make a difference in preventing that from being the case.