Neither Rain Nor COVID Can Stop Relay for Life

April 27, 2021

By Abigail St Jean '21

students walking outside for relay for lifeThe 14th annual Sister Pauline Relay for Life, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, took place outside this year on Saturday, April 25 on a rainy Alumni quad due to COVID-19 restriction. Due to the inclement weather, there was also a hybrid component as the event kicked off with virtual videos from the five societies on campus. With 33 teams participating and a fundraising goal of $50,000 the total amount raised this year was $56,000.

The co-chairs of the event were Aidan Connolly ’21 (King Edward Society), Kate Griffin ‘21 (Saint Elizabeth Seton Society), Tess Beardsley ’21 (Koinonia), Matt Ward ‘21 (Red Key Society) and Caroline Rohan ’21 (Alpha Phi Omega) who are members of the five campus societies.

“Relay for Life is such a great event because it brings the Saint Anselm community together and it shows just how many people are impacted by different varieties of cancer,” stated Connolly.

To kick off the event, Andrew Litz, dean of students, provided an introduction to the Saint Anselm College Relay for Life which is named in honor of Sr. Pauline Lucier, C.S.C., a former Campus Minister at the college who passed away in May 2009. Susan Gabert, assistant dean of students and director of Campus Ministry, and Alicia Finn, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, spoke about sister Pauline in remembrance of the 2008 walk where Sr. Pauline served as the Grand Marshal. The event was named in her memory the following year.

One purpose of Relay for Life is to show how cancer impacts those around us. In many ways, the Luminaria walk signifies this as a list of names are being announced to commemorate the loved ones who were lost. Sometimes, cancer affects those around us who are closer than we think. Ann Manning ‘22 spoke about her experience as a caregiver to her father who was battling cancer.

Manning stated, “I was a caregiver to my Dad during his battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in 2016. Experiencing the strength of a cancer patient is what I see as the blessing of being a caregiver. Although we can never truly understand the experience of the person we are caring for, we are able to provide hope and added purpose for individuals who are going through the fight for their life. The treatments are long and taxing to the patient's mind and spirit, and caregivers are the people who are able to rally around them. Although not all cancer stories end in survivorship, the experiences and spirit of the patients live on through their caregivers.”

Additionally, Ally Vermetter ‘22 served as this year's Grand Marshal. She was able to speak on behalf of her personal battle with cancer as she claimed: “Throughout my treatment, my diagnosis challenged me, deepened my faith, and grew my strength. I am a survivor.”

“So many people have loved ones that have either passed away or have struggled with the fight against Cancer and Relay for Life is a forum for people to show appreciation and commemorate their loved ones,” said Connolly.

In keeping with traditions with an opening ceremony, a hair cutting event, lawn games, and a luminaria walk relay felt similar to what it once was in previous years. Although rain was in the forecast, the Anselmian spirit was alive.

“The event has a profound impact, both on our fellow Anselmians on the hilltop, and within our greater community. With every step we take, with every lap we walk, with every haircut, with every tear shed, and with every smile shared, we come that much closer to providing hope and a cure to everyone affected by this disease” said Vermetter.

 

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