The David B. Haight Alumni House was filled with glow sticks, music from DJ Neva Sleep and dancers fighting cancer Saturday night.
USU students in attendance gave a minimum $3 donation at the door with proceeds donated to further cancer research. Students who participated danced, ate ice cream, used a photo booth and won door prizes.
The USU Relay for Life is an all-night event to raise money for cancer research, commemorate cancer survivors and raise awareness of cancer risks. The American Cancer Society sponsors relays in communities, at college or high school campuses and throughout more than 20 countries worldwide. The proceeds from USU’s Relay for Life are donated to the American Cancer Society, which then donates to Huntsman Cancer Institute.
Brock Lords, a freshman and team captain chairperson for Relay, was in attendance Saturday night.
“Dancers Fight Cancer went better than anyone could have ever hoped for,” Lords said. “It was all the excitement (of) a normal dance party with all the generosity of a charity event. It was incredible.”
Lords said he’s looking forward to this same excitement at the main event in April. He plans to continue his involvement through the following years he will spend at USU.
Steve Wilcox, a sophomore and team recruitment and sponsorships chair, was excited for the event as a showcase to kick off the 2014 Relay for Life.
“Participating in Relay for Life is a great way to give back,” Wilcox said. “One of mottos the (ACS Relay for Life) has is that cancer never sleeps, so neither will we. That’s why Relay lasts all night long.”
Wilcox is one of many students who have seen the effects of cancer.
“My cousin Blake was only 6 when diagnosed with leukemia cancer. I would take him to Primary Children’s Hospital, and it would really break my heart to see all the other children there,” Wilcox said. “At such a young age, that really impacted me.”
Brandon Woodward, a junior and committee member for team recruitment and sponsorship, came up with the idea to host a dance night to get excitement about the Relay held on April 11 in the Nelson Fieldhouse.
“We really wanted student involvement, but something fun for everyone,” Woodward said.
The Dancers Fight Cancer event was held Saturday night after Poetry and a Beverage. Woodward decided to use PoBev as a way to advertise to those who just didn’t want a short end to their Saturday night.
“Utah State loves dancing and concerts,” Woodward said. “I thought, ‘Why not use a night as an opportunity for fun and at the same time, really helping people?’ It’s a double whammy.”
The Colleges Against Cancer Club has a goal of 50 teams participating in Relay this year. A competition against the University of Utah is a driving force in this goal as well. There are 30 teams signed up, and there is a $10 sign-up fee per team.
Teams, generally consisting of 8-30 people, raise money through sources like friends, family and business pledges. Creativity is key to raising donations, Wilcox said. During the event, teams hold bake sales, arts and crafts, T-shirt sales or anything to get people involved. One team already plans to have a Nintendo Wii video game console up for a “Just Dance” competition.
There are other ways to donate as well. Buffalo Wild Wings will be participating in the event April 11-12. If customers mention Relay for Life with any food, drink or take-out orders on those days, 10 percent of the money from their purchase will be given to the event.
Wilcox said joining a team, donating, coming to the event and inviting others are great ways to contribute to this cause. USU Relay for Life will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 11. For more information, visit www.relayforlife.org and type “Utah State University” into the search bar or go to www.facebook.com/USURelayForLife.