The goal was to raise $30,000 for cancer research through a single Relay for Life at St. Joseph’s College. That was the number that Marlee Cole, the annual event’s co-leader, had in mind ever since she was a freshman.
And this past Saturday in a field on the Patchogue campus, the school not only hit that mark, but surpassed it.
“To be able to finally reach our goal of $30,000 and say that I helped plan the event, makes me proud,” said Cole, who will be graduating next year. “We put in hours of hard work and dedication, and after finalizing our total at the end of the event, it was clear that all of those hours were worth it.”
This year’s Relay for Life efforts raised exactly $31,049.30 for the American Cancer Society. That money was raised the night of the event, through fundraisers held throughout the school year, and by individual participants who had their own fundraising pages through relayforlife.org.
The individual who raised the most money was Jessica Post, who raised $1661.52, the organizers said.
Described as a family-oriented, 12-hour event, Relay for Life encourages team members to take turns walking or running around an illuminated track to raise not only money, but awareness of the effects cancer has on sufferers as well as their families.
About 400 people showed up the day of the event, as well as 20 cancer survivors who were treated as guests of honor.
Three themes are highlighted at separate times during the event:
Survivors Lap: Survivors circle the track together to celebrate their victories over cancer.
Luminary Ceremony: This is after dark and honors people touched by cancer and remembers those who have died.
Fight Back Ceremony: Each participant makes a commitment to save lives by joining the fight.
“Our students were amazing,” Howell said. “We are very proud to serve our community in this manner.”