Relay for Life hosts virtual fundraiser

Relay for Life hosted its annual SVSU and Saginaw County event March 22-26.

The virtual fundraiser lasted the entire week and included multiple events for the community to get involved in.

Funds raised by the event were donated to the American Cancer Society to support cancer research, patients and education on the detection and treatment of cancer.

“The SVSU event is a time for the campus community to come together to honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost and fight back against a disease that has taken too much,” said Tammy Elliott, special assistant to the provost and SVSU Relay for Life co-advisor.

Last year, Relay for Life had planned for a large event in the Ryder Center. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, things went differently than planned.

“It’s typically a large-scale event in the O’Neill Arena and has a lot of community engagement,” said Lizzy Simon, a literature and communications sophomore and president of SVSU’s Relay for Life chapter.

She explained that the pandemic caused a last-minute scramble to rethink the fundraiser.

“Last year, we were planning a carnival in the O’Neill for Relay, then the pandemic hit,” she said. “We had less than a month to create a virtual Relay — something that had never been done before. We still managed to raise $35,000, but our goal was $50,000.”

This year’s Relay for Life event was entirely virtual. Both students and community members were encouraged to get involved via the group’s Facebook page.

“This year, we had a lot of time to prepare for a virtual event,” Simon said. “We partnered with a lot of clubs, like Valley Nights and Program Board, to help our fundraising goal and get students engaged.”

Some of the fundraisers and events hosted throughout the week included the Cutest Pet Contest, Silent Auction, Buffalo Wild Wings fundraiser, Panda Express fundraiser, Luminaria Ceremony and the Why I Relay ceremony.

A panel, called the Fight Back Ceremony, was also hosted with state legislators discussing oral chemotherapy.

“Over a dozen RSOs on campus are involved in Relay,” Simon said. “They have supported us by creating teams, doing a window painting and creating their own fundraisers. I’d like to extend a huge thank you to our campus community for coming together to support this just cause.”

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