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A 'round the clock' relay for a cause

For 12 hours straight beginning last Friday night through Saturday morning, Goggin Ice Center bustled with activity and color. Balloon arches of pink and white hung over the doorways, a bright yellow and black inflatable slide sat invitingly on the outside lawn, and booths and tables of all colors filled the chilly hallways, wreathing the center ice rink. Decked in leotards of deep, sparkling blue, figure skaters twirled and leapt across the frozen rink while therapy dogs in bright red vests happily wagged their tails from the floor above.

The vibrant gathering had all come together for the same reason: to raise money and awareness for the fight against cancer.

The event that filled the halls of Goggin last Friday was Miami's annual iteration of Relay for Life, a fundraiser that works directly to benefit the American Cancer Society in its mission to combat cancer.

The relay took place from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., and was put on by Miami's branch of Colleges Against Cancer, a student organization that strives to promote awareness and understanding of the disease year-round.

Participants in the relay donned wristbands to signify their involvement and walked the circuit around the center ice all throughout the night. In addition to participating in the relay itself, each team set up a game or activity for attendees to enjoy.

Around every corner of the ice center there was a different booth or activity set up; some teams sold refreshments like cookies and pizza, some hosted games like cornhole and others offered things like photo booths and homemade blankets.

Student attendees took to one activity with particular gusto; along one wall of the arena, a row of Miami professors sat in a line. Behind them, a hand-painted sign read 'Pie-a-professor.' For a small fee, anyone could revel in the act of smearing a pie in the face of one of their instructors.

Angela Curl, assistant professor of family science and social work, said she was pleased to participate, despite the messy nature of the activity.

"When I received an email from my department chair, I volunteered right away," she said. "It's a really fun sort of activity to do for a great cause and I was glad to do it. I think my daughter, who is eight, was happy to. She pied me four times."

Over the course of the 12 hour event, the various teams and organizations raised over $8,000 in the form of donations and item sales.

Alex Macauda, a junior finance and urban planning major and director of recruitment for Miami's branch of Colleges Against Cancer, said he was happy with how the event turned out.

"The money we raised was up from last year," he said. "And because we held the event at Goggin this year, I think a lot of students were able to come and enjoy the activities."

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Macauda said that he'd love to see the event grow even more in future years.

"I'm looking to find ways to engage people outside of the Miami community," he said. "I'd like to figure out a way to work with the Oxford Relay for Life, because I think we can do even more good if we work together."

While students and staff were both involved with the relay, Macauda said he wants members of the Oxford community to come out as well.

"We'd like to have families and children at the event too," he said. "I think having a mix of all ages there would be great. We've got a lot of ideas on how to change and improve the event in coming years, and that's definitely one of them."

Miami's branch of Colleges Against Cancer is always looking for anyone with interest in raising support for the fight against cancer. They fundraise year-round, and are already looking ahead to next year's relay, hoping to make it as large and engaging as possible.