The "Party of the Year" officially kicked off as Relay for Life began its annual fundraiser in support of the American Cancer Society. Relay for Life made its way to USC in 2003 and has been hosting a wide variety of events to raise money to battle cancer.
At USC, the event usually raises over $180,000, and proceeds go to the American Cancer Society. From there, the money is used to support patients through treatment by not only paying for any treatment, but by providing lodging and rides while they’re away from home receiving treatment.
In October, male students dressed in bras on the Russell House patio for the Relay for Life theme kickoff party. The event, "Bros in Bras," took place in an effort to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and announced this year’s theme, "Party of the Year."
"Bros in Bras" is one of the many events Relay for Life participants will be hosting in order to meet their goal of $200,000. Some of the events include a bowling night, paint wars and a "Bark for Life," which is Relay for Life for dogs. While all the smaller events contribute to the cause, the Main Event is where most of the money for this charitable event is raised.
Blake Jones, a third-year biology student and co-director of the Main Event, said it's supposed to "mirror cancer treatment" over the 12 hours of the event, from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m.
“5 [p.m.], it’s going to very shortly after that start getting kind of dark. By midnight it’s supposed to be the rock bottom point, where it’s coldest and darkest, and then throughout the rest of the night, by the time you're done, you start seeing the sun come up, which is supposed to be symbolic of positive treatment, remission, that kind of thing” Jones said.
At the Main Event, there will be activities to do in order to keep all the teams awake and morale high, such as performances by local bands. In the past, the event has had a show hosted by drag queens. Many of the teams bring cornhole, tug of war and spike balls to host different tournaments through the night.
“The idea is that cancer never sleeps, so neither do we," said Alyssa Powers, a fourth-year elementary education student and co-director of the Main Event.
One of the more serious moments of the night is the Luminaria Ceremony. The Luminaria Ceremony is where all the lights are shut off on the field and the participating teams release a floating lantern in honor of anyone they know who has battled cancer. After the lanterns are released, the participants will take a lap around the track in silence in order to honor all of the people who have battled cancer.
“It’s a really good way to give back to your community and just help cancer patients feel appreciated, and their families feel appreciated,” said Brice Laney, a second-year pharmacy student.
Students that want to get involved with Relay for Life can join a team or register to walk during the Main Event.