Relay for Life raises thousands, culminates this weekend

via facebook.com

More than 72 teams of students have raised over $107,000 for NYU’s 11th annual Relay For Life fundraiser that will take place this weekend.

Relay For Life, organized by the American Cancer Society, is an overnight fundraiser for cancer research and treatment. Many NYU student organizations — clubs, fraternities, sororities and residence halls — are still fundraising for the event, which will be held at Coles Sports Center from May 4 to 5. Students, parents and alumni are also welcome to attend.

At the event, teams will set up campsites to engage in additional fundraising. Participants can join in a raffle to win donated prizes, or they can play basketball, volleyball and other sports and games. There will be three ceremonies during the event titled Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back.

“It’s a great event,” said Andrew Ark, an LSP sophomore and external vice president of Pi Kappa Alpha, one of the fraternities participating in the fundraiser. “People come together to help out the cause, and you get to spend time with your friends. It’s a good time that benefits the community.”

Pi Kappa Alpha has raised $4,536 so far this year. Last year the fraternity raised a total of $25,000, and the most money of any team at the event.

Matt Parvin, an alumnus of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, brought Relay For Life to NYU in 2002 after being diagnosed with cancer. Since then, the event has raised over $1.3 million for the American Cancer Society. Last year the event brought in $192,000 and was named the Top Collegiate Relay Event in the Eastern Division.

“Relay at NYU has been the national leader in online fundraising and has paved the way for what it is today,” said Emily Soukas, a CAS senior and team leader for Colleges Against Cancer. “We also consistently have one of the highest average dollar amounts raised per person.”

Colleges Against Cancer has raised over $10,000, currently second only to Zeta Beta Tau Gamma, a fraternity that has raised $20,000. The American Cancer Society’s goal is $100 per person, which Soukas said is easily attainable.

“All it takes is to ask. People will really surprise you with their generosity,” Soukas said. “Everyone is affected by cancer in one way or another, so you never know who will want to support you.”

Rubin residence hall team leader Richard Perez has helped organize some of the hall’s fundraising activities, including a male beauty pageant known as Mr. Rubin and a food delivery service called Rubin Saturdays.

For some, Relay For Life is an integral part of their NYU experience. LSP freshman Allison Flom, who has been active with Relay For Life since high school, is the top individual fundraiser this year with $6,000.

“NYU’s relay is special because it’s almost a subculture here,” Flom said. “You can go up to almost any student [at the Relay event] and ask what their story is, and they’ll definitely have something to say.”

Soukas also said she sees Relay For Life as a time when NYU students can connect with one another.

“The support that is shared at a Relay For Life event is unlike anything I’ve ever seen or experienced,” Soukas said. “I love that at a school as large as NYU, we can all come together as one community … and rally in the fight against cancer.”