MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-The Relay for Life, a fundraising event held Friday, April 29-Saturday, April 30, at Middlebury College, raised more than $175,000 for the American Cancer Society. This year marked the second year in a row that this event has taken place at the college, where $80,000 was raised in 2004. The money raised this year makes the Middlebury relay one of the American Cancer Society's most successful Relay for Life events held on a college campus. The funds will support the society's research, education, advocacy and service programs.
The organizing committee, which was largely made up of Middlebury College students, also included college staff and community members. For the second year, Middlebury College sophomores Ross Lieb-Lappen and Meg Young were the co-chairs of the committee.
According to Lieb-Lappen and Young, 1,248 people attended and 838 people registered to form 76 relay teams. Team members took turns walking a designated relay route on a Middlebury College soccer field beginning at 3 p.m. on April 29 and continuing until 9 a.m. on April 30.
"We are thrilled with the results and so grateful to every participant and sponsor at the college and in the community for all their work," said Lieb-Lappen.
Several poignant moments took place during the event. Leading the opening laps were 44 cancer survivors and their caregivers. During a ceremony on April 29 from 9-10 p.m., 1,249 luminaria were lit - each sponsored individually in honor of someone who has been touched by cancer. A lumninaria consists of a candle surrounded by sand inside a white paper bag. Middlebury College Economics Department Coordinator Amy Holbrook and Middlebury College first-year student Josh Chan observed the luminaria throughout the night and made sure each candle remained lit until morning.
During the event's closing ceremonies, the Relay for Life organizing committee
recognized the accomplishments of individuals and a number of teams, each of which gave itself a name. The top three individual fundraisers and the amounts they raised were Robin Young of Wayne, Penn., with $6,690, Middlebury College sophomore Maura Casey with $5,615, and Salisbury resident Elaine Holbrook with $3,822. The teams with the highest total funds raised were the Ova Chicks with $16,668, the Pirates of the Diamond with $12,919, and The Advancers with $9,548. The team which raised the most funds on a per person basis was the Pirates of the Diamond team at $922 per person. The award for having the most team members stay awake all night was given to the Eleven Degrees team. The award for best campsite, the name given to each team's headquarters during the relay, was given to the Addison County Wonder Walkers and the Waterhouse Family team. Holbrook and Chan received awards for spirit as did the
Middlebury College swim team. Kim Kelley walked the most laps - 271 - in the adults-over-twelve category and Mark Young was awarded for his 57 laps in the children-under-12 category.
The sponsors of the event included Middlebury College and several campus organizations, including the Volunteer Service Organization, Alliance for Civic Engagement and Brainerd Commons. Other sponsors included Alice Radio, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 27 Middlebury, Fox 44, Joseph P. Carrara & Sons, Larry Brett's Jukebox, Middlebury Lion's Club, and Tom Broughton Auctions and Tent Rentals. Providing entertainment were Middlebury College student singing groups the Bobolinks, Chamber Singers, Dissipated Eight, Mischords, and Stuck in the Middle, as well as the student dance groups Riddim and GTVT. The Middlebury Middle School Singers, Snake Mountain Bluegrass, and Womensing also performed. A number of local businesses donated food: Middlebury Bagel & Deli, Neil & Otto's, Green Peppers Restaurant, Mr. Up's, Panda House, Dog Team Tavern, Two Brothers Tavern, Taste of India, Green Mountain Coffee, Noonie's Deli, Tulley & Marie's, Otter Creek Bakery, and Greg's Meat Market.
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