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Employees Help Relay for Life Surpass Goals

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
May 6, 2009

The goal was $120,000—considered lofty, given the economy. But this year’s Relay for Life cancer-fighting fundraiser brought in more than $130,000, thanks, in part, to teams of employees across campus.

Workers from Dining Services, Health Services, academic technology, the sociology department, and the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture’s business office, among others, participated in the 24-hour walk, the signature event for the American Cancer Society.

The numbers have been tallied from the April 18-19 walkathon: 118 teams represented by 1,175 walkers raised $131,000, bringing the total contributions coming out of UNH to more than $600,000 since the chapter was launched six years ago.

“Participating in Relay for Life was important to me because I lost my father to throat cancer when I was 18 years old,” says Dawn Zitney of Health Services’ Bigonia’s Bunch team. “The least I can do to honor his memory is to join the struggle to fight against cancer. Fundraising money for Relay for Life and walking was my way of joining the fight.”

Bigonia’s Bunch, walking in honor of co-worker Sue Bigonia, raised $2, 970. This was their first year participating.

“Kevin Charles (executive director of Health Services) was there at midnight walking around the track,” says staff advisor Marianne Fortescue. “To have the type of help we had this year—the number of teams, the number of participants--especially in light of the economy, was really exciting. And to raise the amount of money we did is mindboggling.”

Dining Service’s Cooking Up a Cure team had 30 members. Neide St. Laurent from Panache donated an original painting and Mary Randall donated a handmade quilt for a raffle. This was Cooking Up a Cure’s third year.

Holly Hillsgrove, an administrative assistant in academic technology, says Relay for Life is an opportunity for people to come together to raise money for a cause close to the heart. 

“It’s somewhat therapeutic walking around the track sharing stories of courage and strength,” Hillsgrove says. “The luminary hour is especially moving, it’s a time of remembrance for lost love ones, and hope for those who are continuing the fight against cancer.”

Nancy Wallingford, who works in COLSA’s business office, has been a part of Tri-Star, a team assembled from a local gymnastics center, for five years. Every year she has brought someone she knows who has had cancer to walk the survivor’s lap with her.

“It goes without saying that we are thrilled with this year’s results,” says Fortescue. “We are looking forward to what we can accomplish next year.”


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