College Hosts Record-Breaking Relay For Life

April 24, 2018

By Cory True '09

More than 1,000 members of the Saint Anselm College community raised in excess of $108,000 at the college’s eleventh-annual Sr. Pauline Lucier Relay For Life. The all-night fundraiser for the American Cancer Society was held Friday, April 13, into the early morning hours of Saturday, April 14. Fifty-seven teams of students, faculty and staff walked laps throughout the night, while surpassing last year’s fundraising record.

Relay For Life 2018

Organized by the college's five service societies, this year's event was co-chaired by seniors Kelsey Frahlich (Saint Elizabeth Seton Society) and Mikaela Lachapelle (Alpha Phi Omega).

“We put our hearts into Relay and worked really well together,” said Frahlich of this year’s student-led organizing committee. “This year we set our goal at $110,000 - knowing it would be a challenge. Although we were just shy of that number, it was not the only goal we set for ourselves that night. Our mission was to educate the community, remember those we have lost, support those who are fighting, and celebrate our survivors. Cancer is a disease that has unfortunately affected so many, and it was really beautiful to see the entire community come together for such a worthy cause.”

Nursing major Jordan Ezekiel ’19 served as Grand Marshal and keynote speaker. Ezekiel was diagnosed last fall with Stage 3 Metastatic Melanoma, an aggressive and deadly form of skin cancer. Sharing her story of being diagnosed last fall and her treatment regimen throughout the winter, the nursing major described her journey to the audience, including the initial call from her doctor.

“I had prepared myself for it, I really, really tried to be okay with [being told I had cancer]," said Ezekiel. "But no one can ever prepare you, not at 20 years old, to hear that you have aggressive cancer. I knew that it was very possible, and a part of me had expected it, but not Melanoma."

During her remarks, Ezekiel revealed that she had another instance of Melanoma diagnosed just one week before this year’s event, and will require additional surgery and chemotherapy treatment this summer.

“Relay was especially important to me, given my recent diagnosis,” Ezekiel said. “Cancer can be found anywhere, even in those who might not look as though they are encountering hardships. I wanted to prove to the community that while having a cancer diagnosis is a challenge, it does not prevent one from being able to live out a normal fulfilling lifestyle.”

Also speaking during the evening’s opening ceremony were Kaitlyn Brine ’20 and Brandon Milton ’18.

The walking began with a "survivor's lap," during which a number of Saint Anselm community members donned sashes emblazoned with titles of "survivor" and "caregiver" as hundreds of students lined the perimeter of the track. A few hours later, hundreds of luminaria bags were placed, representing a loved one lost, someone currently battling, or anyone who has overcome cancer. The following hour of silent walking, guided only by the glow of the luminaria, was accompanied by a solemn reading of the names of those whose battles with cancer have come to a close.

In addition to co-chairs Frahlich and Lachapelle, presidents Matt Sargent '18 of the King Edward Society, Jonathan Gooding '18 of the Red Key Society, and Caroline Braverman '18 of Koinoia offered their assistance in organizing the event.

Associate Dean of Students Andrew Litz served as the Master of Ceremonies. Litz revealed that the American Cancer Society has recognized Saint Anselm College’s 2017 Relay For Life fundraising as being the number one per-capita income effort among all student events in the country. Approximately 1,000 students, faculty, and staff participants raised in excess of $100,000 last year.

The Saint Anselm Relay for Life is named in honor of Sr. Pauline Lucier, C.S.C., a former Campus Minister at the college who passed away in May 2009. At the 2008 walk, Sr. Pauline served as the Grand Marshal. The event was named in her memory the following year.