Elon University students honored survivors, fighters, caregivers and those who have lost their lives to cancer with the annual event Relay for Life on Friday.
For 12 consecutive hours, members of the campus community including fraternities, sororities and service-based organizations participated in the event that raised $48,985.14.
The movement is the largest peer-to-peer fundraising event, devoted to saving lives from cancer. Throughout the night, team members can walk the track to fundraise for their teams. All profits from the event go towards the American Cancer Society. A capella groups and dance groups performed throughout the night, and food trucks Tacos Las Gringas and Will & Pop’s were parked outside.
Elon junior and President of Alpha Phi Omega — a coeducational service-based fraternity — Maddie Johnson said this is her first Relay For Life, and the organization will continue each year. Johnson said the group is always looking for ways to get involved, and the Relay for Life has been a great cause.
“We’ve been doing glitter tattoos to raise money tonight. Everyone loves glitter tattoos, and we're selling them for one ticket,” Johnson said.
The floor of the Phoenix Activities and Recreation Center in Danieley Center was covered in games such as “Four in a row,” Jenga, hula-hooping and cornhole. To participate in a table’s activities, students bought tickets at the ticket booth near the entrance.
Just before 11 p.m., the night turned into a solemn space. “Luminaries” was held, where students were given glow sticks to light to remember students’ loved ones who have gone or are going through cancer. A slideshow of remembrance played before Luminaries, with photos and notes that were sent in by students.
Elon freshman Natalia MacPhail said she loved hearing stories from several survivors throughout the night and planned to stay until the end.
“I’m here having a good time for a good cause. I really like seeing the community that is built by everyone coming together,” MacPhail said. ”I’m really excited to finish the night.”
During the early hours of the morning, group exercises and trivia were held and bingo was played by the remaining students who were still walking the track, and working shifts at Relay for Life.
Elon freshman Liam Becker said he enjoyed watching everyone from different organizations come together for the same cause. He was also excited that his team, Beta Theta Pi, was in the lead at the time.
At 4:30 a.m. Feb. 25, Elon’s chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon led in laps with more than 1,000. Beta Theta Pi stood in second, with Alpha Epsilon in third. Sigma Phi Epsilon ended the night with a total of 1,208 laps to top the leaderboard.
The end of the event featured yoga and announcements of raffle winners by members of Elon’s Relay For Life executive board.
Elon senior Allie DelPrete served as the director of fundraising for this year’s Relay for Life. She said the executive staff has been preparing since August 2022, making the event’s success all the more special.
“Every executive member did exactly what they were meant to do on time,” DelPrete said. “We have an amazing team, and it was great to see everyone work together.”