Bowdoin kicks off its fifth annual Relay for Life event in Farley Field House tonight. The 12-hour event will consist of various activities that commemorate and celebrate those who survived, currently have, or were lost to cancer.
Abbie Mitchell '10 participated in Relay for Life with the lacrosse team during her first two years at Bowdoin. As a member of the event's publicity committee for the past two years, Mitchell projects success for this year's event.
"Last time I checked, there were 405 signed up," said Mitchell. "My guess is there will be more. That's about as many as last year."
Bowdoin aims to raise $50,000 for the American Cancer society through the event.
Mitchell said that as of Wednesday evening, Bowdoin "had raised over $26,000. Fundraising continues after the event, so we can still raise money even after the event is over."
Though $50,000 may seem like a hefty sum for students to raise, Mitchell said she is confident that Bowdoin can reach its goal.
"I know last year we set $50,000 as our goal, and we didn't quite make it" before the event was through, said Mitchell. "But we had a very generous donation on the night of, that actually put us at $50,000."
In terms of the agenda for the night, the committee has planned various activities to provide entertainment and keep attendees engaged and occupied.
According to Mitchell, food will be provided all night. The Office of Residential Life will be sponsor an ice cream bar and there will also be pizza from Domino's.
The a cappella groups the Longfellows, Bellamafia and Miscellanea will also be singing, in addition to a hypnotist performance and a poker tournament.
"This is [the hypnotist's] third time doing a show for Relay for Life at Bowdoin," said Mitchell. "He's really good at doing his thing."
Participants will also have opportunities to stay active throughout the night. Mitchell said that activities will include a ping pong tournament, a pie-eating contest, yoga sessions and inflatables such as a moon bounce and a Velcro wall.
According to Randy DeFeo '11, co-leader of the Relay for Life Committee, the committee gets funding for its events "from the Student Activities Funding Committee (SAFC), College Houses, class councils and 50/50 raffles at sporting events."
"Basically everything we do costs money—from printing out flyers and posters to actually paying people like the hypnotist...but we're not paying any of the a cappella groups to perform and we usually make a deal with whoever we get the pizza from," said Mitchell.
In addition to its entertainment, the night will also include more serious activities that directly pertain to the cause.
"Anyone who has survived or is battling cancer does a survivor lap. The luminary ceremony is when you can walk with a luminary with someone's name who is surviving, battling, or lost to cancer."
State Director of Communications of the American Cancer Society Susan Clifford said, "This year, Relay For Life will take place in nearly 5,100 communities and college campuses in the United States and 20 other countries."
According to Mitchell, Bowdoin tops Maine's charts for raising the most money for Relay for Life.
"[The University of Southern Maine] does an event and I believe Bates has just started one this year. Bowdoin raises the most money out of all the schools in Maine and it's only the fifth year we're doing Relay," said Mitchell. "There's also a Brunswick community event which happens in May."
Mitchell added, "I think that everyone on the committee has some connection to cancer. You would have a hard time finding anyone among the people who donate, raise money or participate...who doesn't know somebody who has cancer, died from cancer, or survived cancer."
Clifford emphasized the main purpose of the event.
"Relay For Life reminds us how effective we can be when we unite behind a common goal," said Clifford. "And, we at the American Cancer Society know we aren't in this alone, as our efforts are multiplied many times by the hundreds of volunteers' hours and extraordinary fundraising efforts put forth by the Relay planning committee, students, and staff at Bowdoin College."