Every year the American Cancer Society rounds up volunteers to raise funds to fight against cancer at the yearly Relay for Life. These events are held nationwide and raise tremendous amounts of money hoping to someday help us live in a world with more birthdays.

Bloomsburg University’s biggest event on campus is none other than the yearly Relay for Life. Each year an organization of students called Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) make fundraising efforts throughout the year to help raise money and awareness for the event.

Relay for Life, The Biggest Event on Campus

Each April CAC organizes the Relay for Life. Each participant pays a registration fee which helps towards the total raised by the university. Leading up to the event participants collect donations from friends and families. Then the night of the event each team sets up a fundraiser to help increase the yearly total. Teams sell food items such as walking tacos, pizza, Rita’s Italian Ice, and much more.

Throughout the night the event staff organize different events to keep participants involved.  This past year there was a hot dog eating contest. Each year a luminary ceremony takes place to honor those who have survived and in memory of those who have lost the fight.

One of the most popular events of the night is the Miss Relay Pageant where teams enter one male into a competition. This competition is where men dress up as females and flaunt their stuff while collecting donations. The participant with the most donations wins the competition.

Many relay participants have participated for several years. Senior Erica Bell has participated for the last three years. “Each year I participate with my fraternity Alpha Phi Omega. Relay for Life is a perfect example of how our university comes together as one. It’s always an incredible feeling to participate alongside of other students and to raise so much money for a great cause.”

Here’s a short video about Bloomsburg University’s Relay for Life. This video was created and posted by Bloomsburg Webteam.

Fundraising Efforts

This October CAC organized a color run called Color Your World with Hope 5k on Sunday, Oct. 9. At this run just over $2,000 was raised.  Senior Sofia Rosen served as the Color Run Chair this year, she joined CAC as a junior.

“CAC’s biggest event this year was the Color Run. We raised slightly over 2,000 dollars for Relay for Life in the spring. We also just had a breast cancer awareness week where we decorated the quad with pink ribbons, sidewalk chalk, and even a table in the student service center selling baked goods,” said senior executive board member, Kevin Koch.

On Monday, September 26th, CAC held a dine-to-donate at Smitty’s Steaks in town. For anyone who came to Smitty’s Steaks on that Monday, Smitty’s would donate ten percent of all sales to CAC.

In April, the organization also hosted a Bark for Life event where dog owners were invited to bring their dogs down to the town park to participate in a walk for life. At the event the dogs were given bandanas. Survivor dogs received a purple ribbon while caregiver dogs received a yellow ribbon.

The Great American Smoke out will take place in November as November is lung cancer awareness month. During this month members of CAC will sell t-shirts while also handing out candy cigarettes with facts and statistics about the dangers of smoking. Rosen said, “We hand out candy cigarettes with facts about lung cancer in hopes we can get at least one person to stop smoking because if we get at least one person then we know we made a difference.”

Picture from the Colleges Against Cancer Facebook page.

The t-shirts can be purchased through members of CAC and are just fifteen dollars.

Colleges Against Cancer Members

Koch said that part of the reason he became involved with the organization is because one of his role models, James Thomas Anthony Valvano (Jimmy V), the head coach of the NC State basketball team fought cancer and still managed to lead his team to a national championship. Kevin mentioned Jimmy’s quote from his speech at the 1993 ESPY’s, “Cancer can take away all my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind; it cannot touch my heart and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.”

Rosen said, “The best part about being involved with CAC is seeing how many people want to help raise money and find a cure for cancer. It is such a rewarding club because I know every penny we raise is helping to make a difference and what is better than giving back.”

Senior members of CAC have seen tremendous growth in their main event, Relay for Life, in the past four years. In April of 2014 the event raised 50k while in 2016 the event raised over 60k. The group has also become more involved with the community along with the Janet Weis Hospital.  Koch says, “We now set up multiple hospital visits to see pediatric cancer patients. Going on these hospital visits really emphasizes why we do what we do, and who we do it for.”

The amount of time and effort Colleges Against Cancer puts into the planning of Relay for Life is incredible. Even more incredible is the continual fundraising efforts made throughout the school year. To keep up with CAC and the events they organize, ‘Like’ them on Facebook: Bloomsburg University Colleges Against Cancer.