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Baruch Students Raise Nearly
$50,000 for Cancer Society

--15-hour "Relay for Life" Event Included 70 Teams--

Baruch’s Athletics and Recreation Complex (ARC) was the site of the first-ever CUNY–American Cancer Society Relay for Life®. From 5 pm on Friday evening, April 8, until 8 am on Saturday morning, April 9, over 300 students, alumni, and friends of CUNY walked, ran, remembered, reveled, and raised money for the American Cancer Society, $47,849.29 by event’s end.

The two student organizers behind the relay are enrolled at Baruch as members of CUNY's prestigious Honors College program for academically gifted students. Ana Pazo (’05) and James Thompson (’05) also belong to Baruch's award-winning student chapter of Golden Key International Honour Society. Carl Aylman, director of student life, acted as the administrative coordinator.

Although most of the students who participated in the CUNY event came from Baruch, contingents from Hunter College, City College, and Borough of Manhattan Community College were represented as well. Also on hand were teams of Baruch alumni from PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte. (Deloitte and DC37 Local 384 underwrote the event’s expenses.)

Relay for Life, which is the largest nonprofit fundraising event in the world, is team driven. Teams form months before and begin raising sponsorships. In all, 70 teams of several members each participated in the CUNY event.

Although the main activity of the 15-hour “marathon” is the continuous laps around a track, with each team trying to keep at least one member walking or running at all times, Relay for Life is much more. It’s an event of various moods, explains student organizer and Golden Key President Ana Pazo.

“It meant so many things to so many people,” she says. Members who weren’t on the track participated in karaoke, a singing contest (“Relay Idol”), belly dancing lessons, face painting, date auctions, and sack races, among other fun-filled activities. Three bands volunteered their time to quicken the hearts and steps of the participants, as did a DJ. Yet Pazo’s favorite memory of the evening is a more somber one: “The luminaria ceremony was very moving. Everyone stood up in unison as the lights in the gym died down and the glow from the candles paired with the music. We walked the gym in silence, remembering the reason we were there.”

Pazo summarized the event: “We laughed a lot, and cried a little, but the point is that we made a difference together—and that the money we raised will go to help bring a smile and support to someone who really needs encouragement. I am so lucky to have been a part of Relay for Life.”


--Diane Harrigan

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