Relay For Life was founded in 1985 in a small city in Washington. Now, decades later, the event is a global phenomenon happening in communities all around the world.
The event for the USF community is facing major changes.
The American Cancer Society is hosting USF’s annual Relay For Life event April 6 from noon to midnight.
It is being held at the Campus Recreation Center, instead of the track where it has been since the event’s inception.
USF Relay For Life President Cassidy Michonski said that the change was due to weather issues over the last few years at the event.
Last year, the event only ran for four of the 12 planned hours because a storm forced it to be shut down.
As a result of moving Relay to the Campus Recreation Center, those who participate will be given a wristband by staff at the entrance. This will be used to identify who is there for the event and who is there to work out at the gym.
Michonski is expecting around 80 teams to sign up for the event, with about 400-500 participants.
As of Tuesday, there are 50 teams signed up to participate. Michonski said that they plan on reaching the goal of 80 teams through social media and contacting last year’s registered teams.
This year’s fundraising goal is $100,000. Roughly 20 percent has already been raised.
This week USF has a fundraising challenge against Relay For Life at UCF. The goal is to raise $5,000. Whichever school raises the most money will win. The competition ends on March 29. This is also an opportunity to encourage more teams and participants to sign up for the event.
The slogan for this year’s event is “Marking the calendar for a cure,” coinciding with the theme of holidays.
Michonski said that the theme is not limited to popular holidays such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day, but that the planning council “wants teams to get creative and have a lot of fun” with this year’s theme. An example she used was national dog day.
With the location change this year, participants are being reminded that the Yuengling Center is hosting Mike Epps: Funny as Ish, a comedy tour, at 8 o'clock that same night. Parking will be restricted so Relay participants are encouraged to park in Lot 17B or on USF Sycamore Drive after 4 p.m.
Michonski said one benefit of the change in venue is that the Luminaria Ceremony can now be held earlier during the event. This ceremony has always been held later on in the event when it is dark.
The Luminaria ceremony is where candles are lit in honor of those fighting cancer or in remembrance of those who have lost their lives to the disease. Generally, a silent lap takes place with all participants as a time for reflection.
Michonski said keeping the mission in mind is important for the event’s success.
“Relay For Life is a fun event for everyone to come together for the same goal, regardless of why we are involved and our own personal experiences with cancer,” Michonski said. “It’s a great cause and we are all there for the same reason.”