Relay for Life at Virginia Tech is looking to hold onto its title as one of the most successful university-based Relay events when this year’s all-night fundraiser for the American Cancer Society takes place on Virginia Tech’s Drillfield from 5 p.m. on Friday, April 20, to 5 a.m. on Saturday, April 21.

The 12-hour long fundraiser is akin to a camp-out on the Drillfield, with participants bringing their own tents and settling in for a night of music, food, dance, and camaraderie as they celebrate cancer survivors and those who lost their battle. The schedule includes the following activities:

  • An opening ceremony from 5-5:30 p.m.;
  • The survivors’ opening lap on the quarter mile-long track at 6:30;
  • The 10 p.m. Luminaria Ceremony, and;
  • The Fight Back Ceremony at 2 a.m.

Members of the university community and the general public are encouraged to participate by registering as an individual or as a team member on the Relay For Life at Virginia Tech website. The registration fee is $10, and those who sign up by March 16 will receive a free Relay For Life T-shirt. Registration will remain open until the day of the event.

Relay For Life at Virginia Tech is a registered student organization and is a member of the South Atlantic Division of the American Cancer Society.

Student Director Anna Tobia of West Chester, Pa., a senior majoring in human development in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, said Virginia Tech’s organization began breaking Relay For Life records in 2009 when it became the first collegiate Relay event in the nation to surpass $500,000 in funds raised, and continued its streak in 2011 by being the first collegiate event to raise more than $600,000.

As of mid-February, the group had already raised nearly $100,000 for 2012.

The university’s group received the American Cancer Society’s Gordy Klatt Award for top net income in the youth/college category for 2009, 2010, and 2011, as well as past awards for top college participation per capita, top online fundraising, and greatest number of survivors present at an event. In 2011, Virginia Tech was ranked the top university in terms of online fundraising for the event and for most money raised overall.

Tobia said she hopes to see at least 10,000 participants this year bringing in donations.

“I think Relay literally encompasses everything our university stands for. It really embodies Ut Prosim (That I May Serve),” Tobia said. “Everything that we believe in as Hokies and the way the students come together and support each other — those are things that we have always done in good times and in bad times.”

There are several ways to raise money for the event, such as asking for donations from friends and family, or holding bake sales, both of which Tobia said are popular methods with Virginia Tech students.

Another simple way to contribute is through percentage night. Tobia said that some local restaurants have agreed to donate 20 percent of the proceeds from orders purchased with special coupons that can be printed out on the Relay For Life at Virginia Tech website. The coupons are only valid on certain days. For more information on dates and participating vendors, visit the website.

This year’s Relay For Life event coincides with Spring Family Weekend April 20-22. Visiting families are welcome to donate, participate, or even sign up as a family team. The Family Weekend pep rally will take place on the Drillfield from 5:30-6:30 p.m. during the Relay event, so families can attend both.

“It’s awesome that families can see what we’re doing,” Tobia said. “I think it’s definitely something everyone needs to see before they graduate because the feeling on that Drillfield with thousands of Hokies is truly remarkable.”

Parking will be available available in the Perry Street Lots and the Perry Street Parking Garage near Prices Fork Road. Find more parking information online or call 540-231-3200.



Written by Jennifer Gibson.

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