By Garrett Geissel
CSUB students and alumni were out in full force Saturday May 4 at the 22nd annual Relay for Life to support their community in the ongoing fight against cancer. The event was held at Wingspoint on the corner of Merle Haggard Drive and Airport Drive in order to raise money for cancer research.
The powerful emotion of the event resonated through the thousands of participants present who came to support loved ones affected by cancer. Many CSUB students and alumni present were also active participants on Relay for Life teams.
“I think it’s a beautiful thing. It’s a beautiful event. Overall, it was very eye opening and it warmed my heart. It was fun meeting new people and hearing stories,” said Brandi Duncan, a freshman physics and pre-engineering major, who was a first-time participant at the event and a member of the relay team CSUB Roadrunner Athletics.
A few relay teams associated with CSUB included: Gamma Phi Beta, Phi Sigma Sigma, Kappa Sigma, CSUB Nursing, CSUB Roadrunner Athletics, Pink Bird which was headed by senior psychology major Brooke Andrade, and Psych Club at CSUB.
According to relayforlife.org, there were around 370 active teams and more than 6,500 participants on those teams, which included innumerable CSUB students and alumni. More than $1.7 million was already tallied at this year’s event with more money being totaled in the days following.
The Bakersfield Relay for Life event stands as one the most successful community events in the entire world, and those present at this year’s event exemplified the caring and kind-hearted nature of many Bakersfield residents.
“This being my third year coming to the event, I know the gist of what to expect, and I’m thrilled to see that it has grown larger each year. It truly makes you proud to live in Bakersfield and be a part of a community that cares,” said Lizet Vasquez, a senior communications major.
There was a plethora of entertainment, activities and events going on at this year’s Relay that included the performance of many local bands.
Many teams had a variety of ways to raise more money at the event which included: selling food items, selling shirts and other merchandise, and even selling the use of balls on a dunk tank where a willing participant sat ready to be dropped into a pool of water. A young man at the event also offered to do backflips for every dollar that was donated to support the cause.
These festive events were balanced with the strong emotions of the survivors’ walk in the morning and the luminaria ceremony at dusk. In this ceremony the names of cancer survivors, those battling cancer, and those who lost their lives to cancer were displayed on paper bags filled with glow sticks that lined both sides of the Relay for Life track.
“It’s really important for CSUB students to come out and see the survivors and get educated and support their community,” said Tammy Stickley, a CSUB alumni. “It’s good to see people that have survived and know that those who didn’t survive are being remembered by their loved ones,” she added.