By Chelsea Mazer
Cal Poly Pomona brought together survivors, caretakers, students and cancer research supporters during Relay For Life, a 24-hour event held at the Bronco Commons Saturday and Sunday.
Relay For Life is the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society
that was first started in May 1985 and has since spread across the globe.
All monies raised are put toward team fundraising goals and are ultimately donated back to the American Cancer Society.
Roughly 3.5 million people support Relay For Life annually in more than 5,200 communities across 27 countries.
CPP’s relay is run by the Colleges Against Cancer club in support of the efforts to fight the nation’s biggest health concern.
The event committee consists of 15 students and two adults, an American Cancer Society community leader and the club advisor.
“I have been relaying for nine years, volunteering for six years and working as a staff member for three years,” said Roxanne Bickham, a community manager from the American Cancer Society.
“I like how relay works here [at Cal Poly Pomona] because it’s run through a club of students rather than a mix of volunteers. It’s different than a community event because the campus is an entire community in and of itself. It gives me a feel-good feeling seeing these young adults put so much effort into such a good cause.”
Relay For Life has been held at CPP since 2008 and has given student survivors a place to connect with their peers both in school and in life.
In the opening ceremony, the _ÀåÂ_Ärst lap is walked by survivors and the second is walked by caregivers.
These two laps are done to signify the battle that was fought and won, not only by the survivors themselves, but also by their loved ones who fought by their sides.
CPP had a survivor of its own join the _ÀåÂ_Ärst lap with two other survivors from the area.
Jimi-Lee Tomboc, a third-year communication student and survivor of neuroblastoma, led the survivors lap.
“Because of this event, I have found a stronger connection to being a survivor, and I am proud to relay alongside my fellow cancer warriors,” said Tomboc.
Teams were coordinated through different organizations on or near the campus and included numerous college-based clubs and members of Greek Life as well as students and faculty from International Polytechnic High School.
Each team is required to raise a minimum of $1,000 for a team of at least 10 members.
CPP’s fundraising goal for this year’s relay is $25,000, which would exceed last year’s record of $20,000.
“I would love to see us exceed our total from last year’s relay,” said Alan Montoya, fourth-year mechanical engineering student and CPP Relay For Life co-event lead. “I am drawn to relay because of the sense of community it gives me, and I appreciate the campus community’s help for us to try and achieve our goal.”
Various activities are held throughout the 24 hours to keep relayers awake and motivated.
Cancer doesn’t sleep, so neither do those participating.
This year’s theme, “A Story of Hope,” was used to bring different books into the event by incorporating themed decorations, games and meals.
Some of the stories included were “The Great Gatsby,” “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” “Mary Poppins,” “Oh, The Places You’ll Go,” “Harry Potter,” “The Giving Tree” and “Charlotte’s Web.”
Activities around the track behind the Bronco Bookstore included a beauty pageant, lip-sync battle, Quidditch match, Jeopardy, capture the _ÀåÂÛ_ag, scavenger hunt, Fear Factor and a water balloon toss, among others.
Each team had at least one member on the track at all times during the event.
This tradition is upheld to symbolize the never ending _ÀåÂ_Äght against cancer and those who don’t get to have a break.
In the evening, a Luminaria ceremony was held to remember and honor those who had been lost to the disease.
Decorated bags were placed around the track to light the path and symbolize the light that is brought into cancer patients’ lives through the American Cancer Society and the relay’s efforts.
The event ended with a Fight Back closing ceremony.
Participants took a pledge to work to prevent the disease by staying healthy and continuing to support others.
Awards and recognition were given to those teams who helped raise the most money for this year’s event.
Albert Muro / The Poly Post
Cal Poly Pomona hosts Relay For Life to support the American Cancer Society in its signature fundraiser.
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