SMU held its 11th annual Relay For Life Saturday, April 5 from noon-midnight. The theme of this year’s event, “Fight Back on the Boulevard,” played off the University’s renowned Boulevard parties before football games. The SMU RFL board wanted the event “to reflect the culture and community of SMU,” said Event Chair Liz Blumberg.
SMU RFL kicked off at noon with a speech from SMU Student Body President Ramon Trespalacios. Despite the overcast weather, students and community members came out to the Boulevard for food, bounce houses and laps – all in the name of fundraising.
The event raised more than $152,000 for the American Cancer Society, well exceeding the goal of $145,000 set by the RFL board. Two standouts in the fundraising efforts were the SMU Kappa Alpha Theta team and SMU student Katie Schaible.
The Thetas were the #2 team for fundraising this year, collecting more than $20,000 as a team. In addition, Theta team member Paulena Johnson made the individual fundraiser leader board during the Collegiate Relay prior to the event. A senior in the SMU Theta pledge class was diagnosed with cancer during the Fall 2013 term. The entire chapter came together to support her, raise funds and bring awareness to the fight.
Katie Schaible also made the individual fundraiser leader board for the Collegiate Relay, helping to secure SMU’s top spot out of 25 college relays in the country. Schaible did more than raise over $30,000: She served as the Teams Director on the SMU RFL board for the second year in a row. “Without the learning curve that comes with stepping into a new position, I was able to improve the recruitment and development process,” she said.
Schaible truly embodies the spirit of Relay. She lost her father to melanoma cancer when she was 14 years old and, following her sister’s example at Texas A&M, she joined Relay when she came to SMU.
“Relay has served as grief counseling for me – I am overcoming my sadness and anger about cancer by fighting back against it,” she said. During her freshman year, Schaible raised around $26,000, her sophomore year $22,000 and this year $32,000. She hopes by the time she graduates that she will have raised $100,000 for the American Cancer Society.
Relay For Life hosted another successful event that brought the whole community together. With more than 1,200 participants and 56 teams registered, this is an event that puts classifications aside and brings the community together to fight back.
Photo 1: C/O SMU RFL Instagram & Photo 2: C/O SMU Theta Instagram