The annual Relay for Life took place in the 24 hour period beginning at 2pm on Wednesday April 10th. The event involved volunteers walking or running around a track for 24 hours in teams, with the Relay raising funds for the Irish Cancer Society. Each team must have one participant on the track for the duration of the Relay, with the idea being to remind everyone that “cancer never sleeps”.
Logistics Chair for the Relay Committee, Deirdre Ryan, described this year’s organisation process: “I met with Campus Services and the Sports Centre to speak about the holding the event, contacted St John’s Ambulance, organised the PA system, liaised with the local Gardaí and organised the College Launch Day advertising the event.”
Ryan explained that having the event in its second year had many benefits in that it gave them “the advantage of having the bones of the event plan already written, that was a great template to work off. It was easier to start off and as last year was such a success, people were very keen to participate so more teams registered this year”.
Ryan described how teams operated to raise the funds to attempt to break the €11,000 raised last year: “All team members were issued Irish Cancer Society sponsorship cards to raise money from friends and family. As well as this, hundreds were raised through the sale of Candle of Hope bags for the Candle Ceremony at the Relay”. No figure for the amount raised this year was available at the time of going to print.
UCDSU Vice-President for Welfare, Mícheál Gallagher said that he thinks Relay for Life is a particularly powerful way of getting the message on cancer awareness across communities. He commented: “It’s important that we as UCD students all come together to both remember those that we’ve lost to cancer, and to celebrate those amongst us who are fighting it. It reminds us that we are not alone in the struggle and links us in with informal support networks”.
Explaining why Relay for Life has become such a popular event for UCD students, Ryan stated: “First and foremost cancer affects everyone, both young and old. Most people have encountered cancer throughout their lifetimes, whether it be a parent, grandparent, cousin, aunt/uncle, friend or neighbour that has been touched by the illness, so students from all faculties were interested in participating.
A large number of students were involved in organising the event and Ryan was keen to give those who had given many hours to this event, credit: “Kate O Donnell was our Team Recruitment Chair; Bronte Wakefield, Finance Chair; Emily Pender, Fundraising Chair; Sarah Kelliher, Naomi Keenan, Margaret Higgins, Jess Maguire and Anna Lohikko took great care of our survivors; Emma Geraghty did an incredible job MCing the entire event and helping the rest of the committee with all of their role and Aoife McEvoy was our Lap co-ordinator”.
It is hoped that the event will remain an annual one, and that the figure raised will be announced later this week.