University comes together to fight cancer

Each spring, students, faculty, staff and alumni gather at Penn to honor cancer survivors and those who have lost their battles with the disease.

At the Relay for Life fundraiser, teams and individuals took turns walking around the Franklin Field track all night, symbolizing the fact that cancer does not sleep. This year’s event, held March 27 to 28, had more than 1,800 participants and raised about $150,000. The group hopes to raise $200,000 by August.

Relay for Life is the signature event from the American Cancer Society. Since beginning at Penn in 2003, Penn’s Relay event has become one of the most successful, raising $178,000 in 2008 and being honored with the National Per Capita Relay for Life Award for colleges of comparable size.

While the 2009 event was cut short because of a 3 a.m. downpour, attendees were still able to play games, watch performances from student musical groups, and hold a ceremony in which lit candles were placed inside white bags to honor family members or friends who have fought cancer.

Event Chair Michelle Parisi, a Penn senior and leukemia survivor, says the Relay event builds hope and gives people a reason to believe that a cure is possible. “You can’t really pass up a chance, when it’s put in front of you, to help other people who are going through the same thing you’re going through.”

Fore more information on Penn’s Relay for Life, or to donate money before August, go to: www.relayatpenn.org.

Originally published on March 30, 2009

Originally published on March 30, 2009