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Relay for Life raises $23,492 to fight cancer leading up to annual event to commemorate cancer patients and their caregivers

The money, donated to American Cancer Society, goes towards cancer research and supporting cancer patients

<p>The event’s participants spent three hours walking laps around the field — relaying with their teammates — to physically show support for cancer patients and survivors.</p>

The event’s participants spent three hours walking laps around the field — relaying with their teammates — to physically show support for cancer patients and survivors.

More than 100 participants and 25 teams of volunteers met at Carr’s Field Hill this Saturday  for Relay for Life’s annual fundraising event. In the months leading up to the annual event, participants raised over $23,000 for the American Cancer Society. 

Participants spent three hours walking laps around the field — relaying with their teammates — in support of cancer patients and survivors. In addition to the relay itself, there were musical performances from bands including The INDECISIVE and Swamp Street, as well as the University Salsa Club.

Relay for Life is a national volunteer-based fundraising event that holds activities such as Survivor Lap and Luminaria Ceremony to support cancer patients and survivors and their caregivers. The University chapter is operated by local student leadership. 

Abigail Challas, president of Relay for Life and fourth-year College student, said the event raised $19,000 last year. Challas wanted to make this year’s goal more ambitious, and the group decided on a goal $30,000. 

“I wanted to raise [the fundraising goal] from last year,” Challas said. “I thought we would be able to expand our presence, recruit more members and fundraise more.” 

In addition to improving event turnout, Challas said Relay for Life will continue to spread awareness about being involved in charitable activities at the University and in the Charlottesville community. 

Julie Willis, recruitment co-chair Relay for Life and second-year College student, said she hoped participants would partake in the event and feel more motivated that there will be a cure for cancer in the future. 

Willis said she wanted to make Relay for Life not only a place for fundraising, but also a place where everyone involved can come together and support one another. 

“My sister, Sara, passed away from brain cancer when I was in high school,” Willis said. “So, when I came to U.Va., I wanted to find a CIO that would allow me to honor not only my sister’s story but also to fundraise for cancer at the same time.”

People who wish to participate in next year’s relay can sign up on the club’s website. 

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