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Relay For Life Returns to the Field House

Students at Relay for Life in 2019
Enthusiasm is high for the annual fundraising event’s return to in-person participation.
By: Erin Hatch

This April, one of Endicott’s most meaningful traditions returns to the Post Sport Science and Fitness Center Field House. Relay for Life, benefiting the American Cancer Society, will bring Gulls together for an all-night fundraiser from 5 p.m. April 1 to 5 a.m. April 2.

Since the past two years were virtual events, campus awareness is lower and most participants have not yet experienced a full, in-person Relay for Life. Adrienne Bell, Coordinator of Student Success and Co-Advisor to the Relay for Life planning committee, said she wants to make sure people understand that the event is not what some fear it is: running and walking for 12 hours straight.

“Relay is really like an all-night party,” Bell said. 

With a tropical theme this year, Relay for Life will offer a variety of events on the main floor of the Field House, while participants take turns walking or running up on the track.

“We have a hypnotist, minute-to-win-it games, paint night, Zumba, karaoke, and more—plus food like shaved ice and barbeque,” added Bell.

Co-Chair Lauren Pratt ’23 said that the event brings together a combination of entertainment, competition, tributes, and reflection. 

“Through the night, we develop a deeper understanding of cancer, the forms it takes, and the stories of those it impacts,” Pratt said. “What better way is there to fundraise for cancer treatment, research, and prevention efforts than through an all-night party at Endicott?”

This is the 18th year Relay for Life has taken place on campus, and the fundraising efforts have so far been incredible. As of March 11, Gulls have raised almost $28,500 towards a $50,000 goal.

“We’ve already been able to raise so much, and that is with very few people knowing about Relay and what it is that we do,” said Co-Chair Caitlin O’Keefe ’22. “With more awareness, I completely believe that we would be able to raise more money. Cancer affects so many people, that’s why people join our committee and that’s why so many of us fight and give back.”

Co-Chair Erin Nessler ’22 is excited that this year’s Relay for Life will serve to remind the Endicott community about the event and the important cause it supports. 

“Having the in-person event this year will allow all students to know what Relay for Life is all about, and hopefully it will continue to grow,” she said.

A Personal Connection 

Pratt said she participates in Relay for Life because it allows her to fight back against a disease that has hurt so many, including her father. 

“His determination to fight was a defining moment in my life,” said Pratt. “I strive to carry an ounce of his courage every day. I am so beyond fortunate to have my dad here with me and he expresses his gratitude for the opportunity to watch his children grow up. It breaks my heart that not everyone gets this lucky.”

Bell also chose to volunteer as an advisor for the Relay for Life committee because of her own personal connection to cancer. 

“My son, who’s now 15, had Burkitt lymphoma when he was 11,” she shared. “We have relayed in local communities, but never at the college level before, so he’s going to be at the event as one of our survivors.”

Co-Advisor Kelsey O’Keefe ’19 M’23, Associate Director of Athletic Giving & Engagement, explained that Relay for Life helps strengthen the emphasis that Endicott places on community service and giving back.

“We just had Giving Day, which shows the impact we can have when Endicott students rally together behind a common cause,” she said. “This is a cause that is relevant to almost everybody—it’s so important.”

Pratt agrees. “Endicott is an empowered community that can make a massive difference in the lives of cancer patients when we all come together,” she said.

Excited to participate in this year’s Relay for Life? Sign up now for only $15 (the price goes up at the door). To get in touch with Relay for Life organizers, find them on Facebook, Instagram, or at