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March 20, 2008

UAlbany's April 5-6 Relay For Life Seeks to Top $105,000

Relay For Life Student Volunteers

From left, front row, UAlbany Relay For Life volunteers Lisa Vigliotti and Colleen McLaughlin. Back row: Marc Matatia, Jay Kondrup, and John Lowery. (Photo by Mark Schmidt) 

There is still time to register for the Relay For Life, the April 5-6 all night student-organized walkathon and fund-raising blitz held to benefit the American Cancer Society. This year’s goal is $105,000.

Event organizer Jay Kondrup of Students of Albany Against Cancer expects 1,500 to 2,000 students to put on their walking shoes and take turns walking all night at UAlbany's SEFCU Arena. The Relay is a moving event that helps students to celebrate loved ones who survived cancer even as they light luminaria in memory of those who did not. Originally planned to be held outside this year, the event has been moved inside because of weather reports.
 
“Our theme for Relay For Life this year is Celebrate, Remember, and Fight Back,” Kondrup said. A ceremony honoring cancer survivors begins at 5 p.m. on April 5.

“We will be remembering those we have lost in the past to this disease through our Luminaria Ceremony, which is one of the most moving ceremonies anyone could ever attend. This ceremony is at 9 p.m. There is not a dry eye at that point,” said Kondrup.

Last year, UAlbany student John Lowery raised more money online for Relay than any other college student in the country. Lowery, who won a national award from the American Cancer Society, and raised more than $25,000 online, is participating again in this year’s Relay. He lost his cousin to bone cancer.

“I do the Relay For Life to keep the memory of my cousin Anthony Celestino alive for my family and because he affected more people in a positive light than I had ever seen before. I have thought about him and prayed to him every day since he died. The Relay is a wonderful event, one that encompasses all the good things that we as a people are capable of,” said Lowery, a senior communication major from Mahopac, Putnam County.

Working behind the scenes of this major event on the UAlbany campus is a committee of 50 people made up of volunteers who donate thousands of hours of their time recruiting, fund-raising and organizing throughout the school year.

To date, there are 116 teams and more than 1,000 participants registered. For more information, go to Relay for Life.

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