Relay for Life USC introduced its new theme, "One World One Hope," with a party on Greene Street, kicking off its 2018-2019 campaign year on Monday. The main event will on April 5, 2019 on Blatt Field.
“Our theme is actually called 'One World One Hope,' so that will be our tagline, and basically it's just kind of symbolizing that cancer affects everyone across the globe," said Caroline Dering, the director of finances and production for Colleges Against Cancer at USC and a fourth-year risk management and insurance student. "It’s not just here personally, but it affects everyone.”
Benefiting the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life helps to raise money for cancer patients and their families through a six to 24 hour walkathon, in which participants remember loved ones lost and fighting through cancer. Each year a new theme is unveiled ahead of the event’s arrival in April and reminds participants and teams of the significance of their participation.
“The theme kind of allows people to participate in it, get excited about it, since we usually have around 200 teams, they can all kind of interpret our theme in different ways and use that to really highlight their organization at our event,” Dering said.
Dering hopes that this year’s theme will help unite participants behind their cause.
Not only does Relay for Life USC strive to impact the lives of cancer patients and their families, but it also provides a community in which students can remember family members who have suffered from cancer.
“We have a luminaria ceremony ... and basically that’s just a time where we honor all of our loved on’s that we've lost to cancer, we remember them, and also those that are survivors, and those who are currently still fighting,” Dering said. “We line the whole entire field with luminaria bags and candles inside and we write who we relay for ... everyone is just silent and walking around the track. You kind of just take the moment, look around and realize how many people are there and how many people cancer really does affect.”
For first-year retailing fashion and merchandising student Olivia Lefkowitz, Relay for a Life is an opportunity to bond with peers over a common cause.
“Immediately off the bat when coming into college I knew that I wanted to be involved with Relay,” Lefkowitz said. “I didn’t really know many people coming here and I thought that getting involved with Relay, as well as many other organizations on campus was the best way to meet some new people and I’ve found that and much more with Relay for Life.”
Lefkowitz serves on the entertainment committee, and she said she's been passionate about raising cancer awareness since high school and now enjoys being in a community equally as enthusiastic about funding cancer research.
“The support that Relay for Life gets at a university this size is just really wonderful and is something that I’m really enjoying,” she said.
Members of the Relay for Life team said they are excited to continue to promote their cause as the year progresses.
“Everybody in some way has been directly or indirectly affected by cancer,” Lefkowitz said. “Just to fight for a world with more birthdays I think is like the most true and pure cause there is, and I think Relay for Life does a really good job of supporting that.”