Students, faculty, staff, and members of the community can pull an all-nighter on Saturday, March 31, and join the fight against cancer at the annual Penn Relay For Life at Franklin Field.
The event, which runs from 5 p.m. on March 31 to 5 a.m. on April 1, raises funds and awareness about cancer, a disease that currently afflicts about 12 million people in the United States. This year’s goal is to raise $125,000.
Jesse Rappaport, a senior fine arts major, is the co-president of Colleges Against Cancer and an organizer of Penn Relay For Life. He has been participating in Relays For Life since high school. Like many Americans, he has family members—an aunt, uncle, and grandmother—who have been affected by cancer.
“That’s one of the reasons why I relay,” he says.
The March 31 Relay will begin with an opening ceremony. A Survivor Dinner will celebrate those who have conquered cancer, and a Luminaria Ceremony will remember those who valiantly lost their battle with the disease.
A variety of bands and singing and dance groups will perform throughout the night to keep participants entertained.
Relay For Life teams will hold fundraisers too, such as bake sales. There will also be a moon bounce and a soccer tournament. Pizza and snacks will be available for all participants. The closing ceremony begins at 4 a.m.
Colleges Against Cancer has been holding different advocacy events throughout the school year. They held a smokeout in November to raise awareness about the dangers of tobacco use, midnight bake sales outside of bars, publicity events on Locust Walk, and joined with Temple and Drexel universities for a battle of the bands.
For Relay For Life’s January kickoff, Colleges Against Cancer collaborated with a number of different groups around campus for a YouTube video in which students dance around wearing purple gloves to raise awareness about cancer.
Rappaport says half of all men and one-third of all women in the United States will develop cancer during their lifetimes, “which not a lot of people realize.”
“It’s currently one of the world’s biggest health problems,” he says. “This is something that we’re going to have to all work together to solve. And I think [the Relay For Life] is a great place to start.”
Admission to Relay For Life is $15.
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