Students participating in Relay for Life walkathon
“Everyone has been affected by cancer in one way or another, and, in a way, it connects all of us,” said Rebecca Maskwa, chair of the upcoming UNH Relay for Life. That connection is evident as Maskwa watches the donation total rise and residence halls, Greek life and community teams rally together to help those affected by cancer. The event takes place April 23 from noon to 6 a.m. at the Whittemore Center.
Relay For Life is a fundraising walkathon sponsored by the American Cancer Society that brings communities together to raise money for cancer research and treatment and patient support.
During the fundraiser at least one member from each team must be walking for the duration of the event. At UNH, that’s 18 hours.
“For every dollar that is donated, 93 cents goes into the multiple programs the American Cancer Society provides,” Maskwa said. “I think it is very important for everyone to know that practically all of the money raised will be going to someone undergoing treatment and to their caregivers, to make their lives a little bit easier.”
So far, UNH’s 59 teams and 829 participants have raised more than $69,000. In 2015, year, UNH was inducted into the American Cancer Society’s Million Dollar Club for raising more than $1 million since the university started hosting the event in 2004. UNH has been among the top 10 college Relay for Life fundraisers in New England for the last seven years.
“This group does so much good, and I find it truly amazing and heartwarming to see all of UNH come together for this event. It shows how supportive the UNH community is of one another,” Maskwa said.
Cancer survivors and their caregivers are invited to walk the first lap to be cheered on by participants. A luminaria ceremony will be held after nightfall during which candles in paper bags are lit and placed alongside the track in memory of those who lost their lives to cancer and in support of those still fighting the disease.
“Before Relay, it made me mad to see people I love go through something so horrific and not being able to do anything about it. Now, being a part of Relay For Life gives me a chance to help those who have been affected to fight back and beat this terrible disease,” said Nick Gendron ‘18.