By Lakeisha Phillips
Last Saturday was a beautiful day for Sewanee’s first Relay for Life. Sewanee’s Rotaract club hosted a spectacular event in honor of cancer awareness that raised more than $37,000 for the fight against cancer, the most money raised by a student fundraiser in Sewanee’s history.
Thanks to the work of Rotaract President Will Murphy (C’19), International Service Chair Olivia Whitcomb (C’20), Club Service Chair Caroline Sweetin (C’20), treasurer Jacob Hochhausler (C’20), Secretary Harry Davis (C’19), and past Rotaract President Sam Kern (C’19), the event was a huge success.
“Sewanee’s first Relay for Life was a success! The organizers of the event did a fantastic job! It’s amazing what can be accomplished when a group of people come together for a worthy cause,” commented Tracey Braden, the Head Women’s Basketball Coach.
To kick off the Relay for Life, there were several guest speakers, including cancer survivor Doug Seiter, the former Dean of Men at the University, Dr. Lane Price, an oncologist, and Melinda Craft, Rotaract’s American Cancer Society representative. Rev. Tom Macfie and Vice-Chancellor John McCardell also spoke Saturday, and Dean of Students Marichal Gentry served as the event’s emcee.
The big activity for the evening was the powderpuff football game for sororities in which Phi Kappa Epsilon came out victorious. Along with the powderpuff game, the event offered cornhole games, Mega Jenga, and a raffle.
To end the night, Hardee-McGee field was surrounded by luminaries that lit up the entire field in honor of those who have been affected by cancer. According to Madeleine Rumingan (C’22), “With the luminaries glowing and the stars shining, it was just a beautiful moment.”
Participants in the Relay for Life event were in complete silence as they walked around the field listening to “Hallelujah” as well as “Tobacco,” a song written by Jack Gray (C’19), which shared the story of his family’s connection to cancer.
“It was a really special moment for me because I had never performed in front of a crowd quite so intimate. I had a wonderful time at the event and thought that the song would really resonate with people there,” Gray said.
Relay for Life was a great success considering this was its inaugural year on the Domain. After such a fantastic first event, many hope this will become a Sewanee tradition.