Students pulled an all-nighter Friday to raise money for cancer research at Binghamton University’s annual Relay for Life.
“Our goal was $60,000, and as of this morning before the relay began, we were already at $42,000,” said Samantha Lowenkron, one of the event’s organizers and a sophomore majoring in integrative neuroscience.
According to Lowenkron, the relay raised $55,100.
Some participants set up tables and raised money with bake sales, while others chose more unconventional strategies, like the Miss Relay Pageant, where male contestants dressed in drag for charity.
“I’ll be wearing a black sundress with a silky bra that leaves little to the imagination,” said Shriman Balasubramanian, a freshman majoring in biology
In addition to having participants walk laps around the inside of the Events Center, this year’s Relay for Life, which went from 5 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Saturday, featured speeches, Zumba, a bouncy house, an organized pillow fight, food and games.
Shirley Shum, a freshman in the Decker School of Nursing, said she was disappointed with the fun atmosphere of the event.
“Relay was one of the most inspirational events back home because we were all outside with candles and just being around each other,” she said. “I didn’t really get that here. It’s more like a big party … I guess wish it were a bit more solemn because it’s a serious problem.”
Amid the various activities, the “Luminaria Ceremony” reminded attendees about the reason for the event. It included a slide show of loved ones with cancer and five minutes of silence.
Signs adorned the walls of the Events Center, displaying the names of celebrities diagnosed with cancer, like Robert De Niro and Sheryl Crow, as well posters from students explaining their personal reasons for participating.
“I relay in memory of my grandmother. I want the world to have more birthdays. I relay for the cure,” said a poster held by Molly Law, a freshman majoring in accounting.
For many participants, the toughest part of the relay was trying to last through the whole event.
The Zombie Student Association, clad in their traditional arm bands and headbands, raised nearly $1,300 dollars, and planned to last the whole time.
“We play games, go in the bouncy castle and just have fun,” said Rachel Joseph, a captain for ZSA and a junior majoring in geology. “We’ll dance, skip, run, do whatever as long as we’re not bothering other people.”
Many attendees tried to stay awake for the entire event.
“I hope to find something caffeinated,” said Jacob Seidner, a sophomore majoring in industrial systems engineering.
Colleges Against Cancer hosted Relay for Life in conjunction with the American Cancer Society. According to the Relay for Life website, 106 teams and 1,235 registered attended the event.