Huge turnout and fundraising at FIU’s 2015 Relay for Life

Photo by Vincent Rives/The Beacon

By Amanda Rabines
Entertainment Director

Florida International University hosted the 11th annual 2015 Relay for Life event, last Friday, Feb. 27, at the Modesto A. Maidique Campus.

About 90 teams and organizations teamed up to participate in the 12 hour long event, which benefits The American Cancer Society.

University President Mark B. Rosenberg joined Joshua Paz, Mr. Relay, and Natalie Agramonte, Ms. Relay, in the cutting of the ribbon which started the fundraising event.

Cancer killed Paz’s grandfather. Now his grandmother battles the resurgence of breast cancer.

That’s why Relay for Life matters to him.

“It directly affected me and it’s something I truly do care about,” said Paz, brother of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity.

It is Paz’s first year here at the University, but not his first Relay for life.

In high school, he participated in other American Cancer Society events outside of the University.

Kawi Gonzalez, associate director for Relay for Life said that this year’s Relay for Life raised $115,526.80, not including online and credit card donations which are still being processed. This year’s monetary goal surpassed last year’s.

“Of course we were able to do that because of all the teams and all the people that went to the event, in which this year seemed like a lot more than last,” said Gonzalez. “We were extremely excited.”

According to Gonzalez by 5 p.m. the event had already raised $86,000.

At the event, groups came together to donate not just money but hair.

Delta Phi Epsilon sorority won first place for donating the most hair during the Beautiful Lengths event. In total, 340 ponytails were donated, meaning more than 42 wigs will be able to be made and will be donated to cancer patients.

Relay for Life 2015 had performances from bands such as Defy the Skyline, as well as food, bounce houses, games like the virtual dance competitions and the movie ‘Big Hero Six’ playing on a projected big screen.

Every team represented either a character from a television show or movie to support this year’s Lights, Camera, Relay theme: television.

By around 11 p.m. Relay for Life honored survivors in the luminaria ceremony, where those who participated remembered those who have passed, survived or are currently battling cancer.

“Just seeing the amount of people we had there and seeing everyone be quiet, reflecting on the ones that they’ve either lost or know who are struggling with it, it was really impactful.” Paz said.

Paz said it was all worth it. He stayed at the event until 5 a.m., and later went home to change and go to work at 7 a.m. at the Coral Gables’ Venetian Pool.

“A lot of survivors were there and a lot of FIU community, I was very happy with it,” Paz said.

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