The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Relay For Life: St. John’s Students Walk to Combat Cancer

St. John’s University teamed up with the American Cancer Society to raise over $40,000.
Torch Photo / Olivia Rainson

St. John’s University and the American Cancer Society (ACS) held its 18th annual Relay For Life event on April 21 in Carnesecca Arena. One of the world’s largest peer-to-peer fundraising events, Relay For Life takes place across the nation and has been raising money for 35 years. From 6 p.m. to midnight, students from various organizations at St. John’s relayed in Carnesecca Arena to raise over $40,000, according to Relay for Life chair Kayla Fittipaldi.

Fittipaldi shared a statement to The Torch about why she is so devoted to the mission of cancer research.

“I started relaying eight years ago after both my grandparents were diagnosed with cancer. To me, Relay means hope and healing, and it builds strong bonds within a community,” Fittipaldi said. “Overall, I couldn’t be more proud of how this year’s event turned out.” Fittipaldi said this year’s Relay for Life had almost 500 participants.

Relay for Life chair Kayla Fittipaldi began the night with a speech.
Torch Photo / Olivia Rainson

Anne Baghdadi, a senior club member of Relay For Life, has been involved with ACS since she was 15 years old.

“Relay For Life is a school-wide event where all clubs and organizations are encouraged to come and fundraise in support of the American Cancer Society. We like to highlight the survivors and caretakers of our community by having laps for them,” Baghdadi said. “It’s great to have the community come together and fundraise for something so much bigger than St. John’s.”

Before the walking began, Relay For Life’s ACS Staff Partner Danni Frank also announced Delta Phi Epsilon raised the most money for a single organization at St. John’s with a total of $6,630.

Another speech was given by the Student Government, Inc. (SGi) President-Elect, Nawsin Kamal, who described the event as “a time where we come together as a community to remember those we have lost and to support those fighting cancer today.”

To kick off the walk, a presentation honoring those lost to cancer, survivors and fighters was shown to remind everyone the purpose of the event.

Torch Photo / Olivia Rainson

Members of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity — Liam Canavan and Dylan Owen-Cessna — described why they relay. 

“We are staying the whole time to fundraise as much as possible, but the main point we are here for is to show support,” Canavan said. “This event is really a testament to everyone’s collective will.”

When asked why his organization is participating in this event, Owen-Cessna said “we walk for everybody who can’t walk with us.”

Sophomores Erin McRae and Kate Nietsch walked for “Anna’s Army”— a group dedicated to their friend who is currently battling cancer. “We have been using Facebook fundraising and receiving support from our family and friends,” Nietsch said. “We raised a lot more than expected so I am really proud of everyone.”

McRae and Nietsch are relaying for “Anna’s Army” in support of their friend.
Torch Photo / Olivia Rainson

Zach Simpson, a junior and member of the Sigma Pi fraternity, gave a statement on why he participated in Relay For Life. “I know we have all been affected by cancer, either ourselves or our family, and this event is perfect to raise awareness and see all the good we have done over the last few weeks come to fruition here.”

Towards the end of the night, various groups, including Sigma Pi, participated in games — such as volleyball — in the center of the arena while waiting out the home stretch.

Due to the help of on-campus organizations, Relay For Life was able to raise a significant amount to be donated towards the fight against cancer.

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About the Contributor
Olivia Rainson, Social Media Manager & Asst. Features Editor
Olivia Rainson is a junior English major and creative writing minor serving as the Social Media Manager. She also works at the University Writing Center and is on the editorial board of the Intersections Literary Magazine. Olivia has been with the Torch since the beginning of her sophomore year, and when she isn’t writing, you can find her reading with an iced coffee. Olivia can be reached at [email protected]  

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