Relay for Life



Relay for Life started at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 9, and ended at midnight the same night. Relay for Life raised $78,546 after the event continued to raise money.

KATIE BAUGHMAN, Campus Life Editor

Pickle spitting contests, Zumba dancing and a musical performance from the Brazilian 2Wins all in the name of fighting cancer were just a few of the events that took place at the Carnival of Hope, also known as this year’s Relay for Life, April 9.

Relay for Life 2016 raised a total of $78,546 dollars, and since the event took place donations have continued to flow through and they have reached over $80,000 in fundraising.

According to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life website, Relay for Life is an event to  fundraise and increase awareness of people affected by cancer. It is also held to celebrate those who have survived cancer and remember those who have lost their battle.

Teams were formed before the event to fundraise throughout the year, and made appearances at the event.

Executive members from Relay at UNI welcomed participants to the event dressed up as clowns at the opening ceremony, eliciting giggles from the crowd every time they spoke.

After introducing the executive board, the events kicked off, with the opening of the 18-foot blow up slide that TC and TK slid down alongside other Relay participants.

Hailey Manternach, senior middle level education and mathematics teaching double major and president of Relay for Life at UNI, talked about the planning goes into holding an event of this scale.

“We have to plan for all the entertainment, ways to make survivors and their caregivers feel loved, ways to promote and get people involved, and all the way down to what people are going to eat,” Manternach said.

Throughout the 9-hour event, participants could walk around the track and collect beads for their laps, play games and take part in special activities that took place each hour, like an athlete obstacle course, Minute-to-Win-It challenges, the Newlywed Game, a Buffalo Wild Wings challenge or an Ice Cream Eating contest, which was one of the crowd favorites according to Manternach.

Sentiments of all sorts were displayed around the track, such as Relay memories, ribbons of different cancers, “Why I Relay” displays and team posters.

Another sentiment available for purchase were luminaries; upon purchase, luminaries were decorated in memory or honoring someone affecred by cancer and were displayed along the track.

Later in the evening, during the Luminaria Ceremony, the luminaries were lit while the lights were dimmed in the stadium.

Melanie Adams, junior accounting and supply chain management major, attended Relay for the first time this year and found the luminaria ceremony to be her favorite part of the evening.

“It was very moving to walk around and see all the different luminaries and see the support of all the people attending the event,” Adams said. “This was very inspiring and made me want to help fight the cause for years to come.”

Abigail Stecker, junior communications disorders major and member of the Survivor and Caregiver Engagement Relay committee, participated in her third Relay this year and discussed her thoughts on the ceremony.

“I absolutely love Relay’s luminaria ceremony, where we get to honor and remember all those that have been affected,” Stecker said. “It’s so emotion-filled, and you really see the impact cancer has had.”

The survivors were also celebrated during a Survivor and Caregiver Lap where they gather to walk the track with cheering family members and friends lining the edges, with a celebration dinner to follow.

Stecker interacted with the caregivers and survivors specifically through her role in the Relay for Life at UNI organization.

“It’s so much fun to give back to the real stars, the ones that have faced this disease head on,” Stecker said. “It’s incredible.”

Haircutting by Kate & Company also took place, bringing tears to the eyes of many participants who made the choice to donate at least eight inches of their hair to someone affected by cancer.

The event ended with a final ceremony with awards, including the 2016 Honorary Caregiver Award given to Katie Knudsen, senior communications and public relations major.