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All-nighter

May 20 Relay for Life supports cancer research

Many Dartmouth students will not be getting any sleep next Friday, but it won't be due to the temptations of social engagements.  Rather, they will be promoting awareness of cancer and raising money for research through the American Cancer Society (ACS) annual Relay for Life program. Over 430 members of the Dartmouth community will stay up the night of May 20th, running and walking around the circular track at Alumni Field for 12 straight hours to earn money from pledges. 

2004 Relay for Life
Supporters cheer on local cancer survivors during the opening lap at Dartmouth's 2004 Relay for Life

Last year, Dartmouth raised over $50,000.  This year it hopes to garner at least $60,000.  In addition to walking the track, participants will speak with cancer survivors and hold a candlelight vigil to honor the memory of those from the Dartmouth community lost to the disease, including Lindsay Della Serra '06, a Dartmouth student who passed away Nov. 30, 2004 from lymphoma.

Relay for Life began in 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt of Tacoma, Wa., ran a grueling 83 miles in 24 straight hours, raising $27,000 for his local branch of the ACS.  He reasoned that cancer never sleeps, so for one night neither would he. Since then the idea has caught on, spreading to more than 20 countries and raising millions of dollars for research in the process.  Participants form teams who run and walk in relays so that at least one team member is on the track at all times throughout the night.  They also solicit pledges and donations online and through fundraisers such as bake sales and pancake breakfasts.

Last year's event had a powerful impact. Stuart Lord, Virginia Rice Kelsey '61S Dean of the Tucker Foundation, sees Relay for Life as "a great opportunity for everyone to gather-students, faculty, staff and other members of the community-and show their support for the cause and work together towards finding a cure."  Kelley Durkin '07, who is helping organize this year's event, noted that, "the Dartmouth community comes together to have fun and be involved in the fight against cancer, something which has touched all of our lives." 

To keep the spirits of the participants high during their ambulatory vigil, student bands and a capella groups are scheduled to perform.  The event is sponsored in part by the Athletics Department, the Tucker Foundation, the Alumni Relations Office, the Office of Residential Life and the Office of Conferences and Special Events.

Opening ceremonies start at 6 p.m. Fri., May 20 and the event will last until 9:00 a.m. the following morning.  Members of the Dartmouth community are urged to participate by attending the Opening Ceremony, sponsoring a runner or team, joining or forming a relay team, or donating food items for the day of the event.  To get involved, visit the website or blitz for more information.

By NICOLAS DE ZAMARÓCZY '07

Questions or comments about this article? We welcome your feedback.

Last Updated: 12/17/08