On Friday, April 25, the Drillfield will be transformed into a place of excitement and optimism as Virginia Tech hosts Relay For Life for the 13th consecutive year.

Devoted to raising funds and awareness for cancer research, Virginia Tech has built the annual event into the largest and most lucrative collegiate-level relay event in the world. The dedication of students, sponsors, community members, and the Virginia Tech Relay For Life executive team have all contributed to earning this distinction.

Alana Futcher of Richmond, Va., a junior majoring in communications in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, serves on Virginia Tech’s Relay For Life executive board. 

“We have such great support from the student body and Blacksburg community. At Virginia Tech, each student is so passionate and willing to help others. This is the reason why we have consistently been the top collegiate relay,” Futcher said. “There's a reason our motto is Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) and as executive members we see Hokies live out that motto each year by volunteering and fundraising for Relay For Life.”

Last year, Virginia Tech’s Relay For Life included more than 6,000 participants and sponsors who raised more than $550,000 for the American Cancer Society. This year, the executive board said it would like to increase the number of participants to 6,500 and the money raised to $650,000.

Emily McCloud of Richmond, Va., a junior majoring in mathematics education in the College of Science, has been the Relay For Life productions executive for the past two years. “We are hoping to recruit 6,500 participants before the event, but people are welcome to register at the event. Usually we anticipate about 10,000 participants throughout the event,” said McCloud.

Starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 25, and lasting until 5 a.m. on Saturday, April 26, Relay For Life will be continuously bustling with activity. 

At the main stage on the Drillfield, a variety of bands, deejays, speakers, dance groups, and a cappella groups will perform. The events field will be just as lively as participants take part in games for Relay Olympics, which includes ultimate Frisbee, corn hole, and a “Queen of the Night” contest.

There are many ceremonies that honor those who have battled, are still fighting, or been lost to cancer. The Opening Ceremony serves as a reminder that the fight against cancer is a year-round priority. The Survivors Lap follows as cancer survivors in attendance take the inaugural lap around the track while cheered on by other participants. 

The Luminaria Ceremony is a more somber event -- a time to reflect and honor those who have fought cancer.

“This year we really wanted to focus on the mission of Relay For Life: finding a cure,” said Futcher. “We want people to remember why we ask them to raise funds and volunteer as much as they can. It's not just a competition to be No. 1, it's to fight and find a cure as the Hokie Nation.”

Written by Alexandra Hill of Falls Church, Va., a sophomore double majoring in English and political science in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

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