URI Relay For Life weathers real life
Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862
Donation total more than double goal
KINGSTON, R.I. -- May 4, 2005 -- After the sun went down on April 1 and the clouds rolled in, one and a half inches of rain pummeled the tents of participants of the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life at the University of Rhode Island. Students, however, were not disheartened. In fact, they washed away their own $20,000 goal by raising more than $51,000. The effort involved 50 teams and a total of nearly 600 students, faculty, and staff, almost double the expected participation.
The relay, which usually takes a year to organize, came together in a matter of three months. “I’m amazed at how well it did go off for the amount of time we had and all the rushing around we did,” said co-chairman Brian Maiorino of Freehold, N.J., a URI sophomore marketing major.
“The fact that they pulled off what they pulled off in three months is amazing. Normally, there’s much more time than what we had,” said Paula Montgomery, Rhode Island state vice president of development for the American Cancer Society. “Everybody really just pulled together and made it happen. [The students] were great to work with.”
“Everything was beyond our expectations,” Maiorino said. “Our goals for next year are going to have to go up 100 percent.”
“It was so amazing,” said co-chairman Paul Stoffer of Englishtown, N.J., a sophomore in business at URI. “It was the first time on campus that I’ve seen so many people come together for something so important.” Stoffer is one of about 15 students who coordinated the event.
“We all had our reasons for doing it. This year cancer really affected my family. Someone overcame it and we lost a family friend to it, so I really wanted to do [the Relay] just for that,” Stoffer said.
“I lost my great grandmother to cancer, whom I was very close to,” Maiorino explained. “Paul and I both had that bond, and we were already friends,” so it only made sense for the two to team up and fight back.
“Brian and Paul were absolutely total professionals; they shined with leadership skills,” according to Montgomery.
The relay included kick-off speeches from URI President Robert Carothers and several students, as well as the traditional Survivors’ Lap and the lighting of the luminaria, candles dedicated to friends and family of participants and donors who have been affected by cancer. Karaoke, volleyball, and live music were held, and more events were planned for Saturday morning, but cancelled due to the inclement weather.
“With the enthusiasm that went into it this year and the momentum it’s built, it can only get better. Our hopes are to really engage more faculty and alumni next year,” Montgomery said.
From left, University of Rhode Island students Josh Perlman, sophomore economics major of Nashua, N.H., Kevin Sullivan, sophomore in human development from Weymouth, Mass., and junior Jon Miller, landscape architecture major from Smithfield, R.I. provide musical entertainment for participants of URI’s first Relay for Life on April 1. URI News Bureau photo by Michael Salerno.