Celebrate. Remember. Fight back. That is the motto of Relay for Life and when Dr. Joe Lefevre, a Chemistry professor and cancer survivor hears those words, he knows their meaning.
“Celebrate the people who are still alive and are fighting this and many of whom are going to conquer it,” Lefevre said. “Remember those who have lost the battle.”
“And fight back…it’s a battle we’re in, it’s an absolute battle,” Lefevre added. “One day this foe’s going to be defeated, but in the meantime, we have to fight it.”
The student organization Colleges Against Cancer puts on Relay for Life at SUNY Oswego. For Patty Pollard, one of its members, the wide-ranging participation in Relay is what strikes her.
“I think it’s really cool to be a part of Relay for Life, like it’s a national thing, it even happens internationally in some areas and it’s cool that it’s recognized so widely,” Pollard said.
If you walked around the SUNY Oswego campus in the week leading up to Relay For Life, you probably saw signs giving you statistics about cancer; but Relay For Life isn’t about the numbers, it’s a more personal affair.
Colleges Against Cancer member Gina Agostinelli relays for multiple family members.
“I relay for my Aunt Nancy, my grandpa and my mom,” Agostinelli said.
Sophomore Nicolette Viscusi participates to honor her deceased aunt.
“I relay for my Aunt Linda who recently passed away of breast cancer,” Viscusi said.
Sophomore Nija Davis-Pedlar partakes in Relay to remember her father.
“I relay because a year ago my dad passed away from cancer,” Davis-Pedlar said.
For Lefevre, it’s remembering people like these that’s necessary during Relay.
“All their stories are unique. All their stories are important. They need to be told and they need to be heard,” Lefevre said.
Not only did Oswego’s Relay raise over $38,000, it also gave all participants a night to celebrate, remember and fight back.