Montclair State Students Can Make a Difference at Upcoming Relay for Life

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Published April 9, 2019
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The Montclarion
Relay for Life participants pose in front of a “Hope” sign. Photo courtesy of Sarah Greulich

Montclair State University students come together to raise money for cancer awareness and beat their own goal by holding Relay for Life, a 12-hour outdoor event hosted every year in the Student Center Quad.

Relay for Life is hosted globally each year in order to raise money for cancer research. The event is typically held outside, where participants are grouped into teams and walk around a track for a number of hours to stand up to cancer and show their support for survivors. Montclair State hosts its own Relay for Life, this year’s event being held on April 26 from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Montclair State hosts a relay that is different from others. Many community relays are overnight experiences, but Montclair State holds their Relay for Life during the day, making this event only 12 hours. Last year, Relay for Life surpassed its goal of $55,000 by raising $67,000, making Montclair State one of the top 10 rising colleges in the northeast for Relay for Life.

Many Montclair State clubs and organizations participate in Relay for Life as their own teams, but the Montclair State Relay for Life is a community event that all can participate in.

Tristyn Rivera, a senior majoring in psychology and child advocacy as well as the director of Montclair State Relay for Life, wants people to know this is not just a campus event.

“[Montclair State Relay for Life] does not have as many survivors as other relays because people see it as a campus relay only so they are a little wary of coming to our relay,” Rivera said. “[Relay for Life] is open to all students and the community as well. Professors, families and everyone can come.”

At Relay for Life this year, participants can expect there to be many activities and fun events to do during the day. This year, there will be a DJ all day, performances, a henna booth and a bouncy house, along with many other mini-game events hosted by different organizations, such as RecBoard’s reckless behavior games and dodgeball hosted by Tri Sigma.

Caitlin Ellis-Foster, a sophomore athletic training major, shared why she does relay and why she thinks people should join Montclair State’s Relay for Life.

“It’s an amazing way to bring the community together to raise money and awareness for such a great cause. It’s amazing when everyone comes together,” Ellis-Foster said. “There are tons of things happening all day, and it’s so much fun.”

At Relay for Life, there are many different rituals done in support of those affected by cancer, such as the survivor lap and the luminaria ceremony.

“The luminaria ceremony is my favorite part. It’s very informative and eye opening,” Ellis-Foster said. “You hear people’s stories and how cancer has affected them. It’s a very beautiful ceremony.”

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Luminaries are set up to form the word “Cure.” Photo courtesy of Dana Hirschfeld

Throughout relay, participants are encouraged to donate a decorated luminary in order to show support for someone they know who is either battling cancer, lost their battle to cancer or has survived cancer. The luminaria ceremony is one of the very last rituals of the night, where survivors share their stories among the candlelit bags.

According to its organizers, Montclair State’s Relay for Life is a way to bring the community together and to show what the school truly represents as a whole.

“The Montclair State relay represents hope,” Rivera said. “It shows people that cancer affects everyone. It represents that even a small community can raise the funds to help everyone.”

This year, the goal for Montclair State’s relay is $65,000. To sign up, participants can go on relayforlife.org and search for Montclair State’s relay. Participants can join a team or create their own.

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Caregivers walk around the Student Center Quad. Photo courtesy of Dana Hirschfeld

Relay for Life is a way to get involved on campus and show support for those who are battling or have battled cancer.

Catherine Lowe, a sophomore English major, participated in Relay for Life last year and is participating again this year.

“I think people should choose Montclair State’s relay to participate in when deciding to join a Relay for Life,” Lowe said. “It supports an important cause and brings people together.”

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