Relay for Life returns

FAMU’s annual Relay for Life took place Friday. Photo courtesy: Ranyah McCloud

For the first time since the onset of COVID, Florida A&M’s Relay for Life has returned. The annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society kicked off Friday.

This event was open to both students and the general public. It was held at the Robert “Pete” Griffin Track from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. The event was initially scheduled from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., but it was combined with Set Friday.

The event started with participants walking around the track, which represented the race to find a cure for cancer.

Relay for Life brought out different student organizations to help bring awareness to cancer. They included Collegiate 100, the FAMU Chapter of SISTUHS, Inc., National Society for Black Women in Medicine, Physicians in Training, the Beta Alpha Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Alpha Eta Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma, the Gamma Alpha Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta, and the Relay for Life committee all had carnival-themed tables to help raise money.

Second-year biomedical engineering student Kiram Harrison shared her table’s mission.

“This event is going very well for SISTUHS, Inc, we are doing a raffle in which you can guess the number of kisses we have in our jar,” Harrison said. “This is why our table is called the kissing booth, and if you win the raffle, we have a boys and girls basket that we are giving away that includes a free haircut or a free hairstyle.”

Along with the carnival-themed tables, there were bounce houses including an obstacle course, a 360-camera photo booth, food catered by Metz, and tunes played by DJ Loosekid, DJ Jam and DJ Savage. FAMU students  Vatrece Harris, Robert Tucker II, Chazriq Clarke and Kristine Wallace served as hosts.

Harris, a third-year criminal justice student with a minor in pre-law, was in awe of the turnout.

“My experience has been amazing, this is the first event I have hosted at FAMU,” Harris said. “From start to finish everything has been good like I’ve been having a blast doing it.”

Harris said that her favorite activity was the opening walk around the track in support of cancer survivors.

There were plenty of engaging activities between the organizations and the attendees outside of the different tables. They competed in dance battles on stage, song associations, potato sack races and a relay race. During the race, each organization had a decorated baton to represent their team.

The Sickle Cell Foundation also provided free screenings. Its goal was to enhance sickle cell disease awareness among the Black community.

The president of Physicians in Training, Labrina Johnson, a third-year biology pre-med student from Auburndale, shared her experience with Relay for Life.

“Kyra [Freeny, chairwoman for the event] has done an amazing job. This event is very successful,” Johnson said. “The process was really nice; she’s been very helpful and very accessible.”