This Friday will mark Samantha Plourde’s twelfth year honoring her close friends by walking at Relay For Life.
Plourde started off as a member of “Team Jake,” walking for an hour in fourth grade and now she is co-chair of the Team Development Committee at Quinnipiac’s Relay for Life.
The event will begin at 6 p.m. Friday, raising money for the American Cancer Society for cancer patients and research.
“My best friend in elementary school had a neighbor, who was 6 or 7, and he had leukemia so we had a team for him,” Plourde said.
That experience inspired her to participate yearly, but she got even more involved once her friend Rebecca Lazinsk lost her mother, Lori, to cancer.
“Relay is really my time every year to remember her,” Plourde said. “In the situation where you lose someone, you can be angry and upset or you can do something with it.”
This year more than 500 people registered to walk in the event and Plourde said that is the best way to honor those who were lost. Quinnipiac’s Relay for Life has raised more than $450,000 over the past five years for cancer research.
Last year was one of the most successful events, raising more than $126,000, the third most raised money per capita in the country.
Organizers have “high hopes” for this year’s event because it has a new, bigger location compared to the Mount Carmel Recreation Center, the site of the 2011 event.
“We found out in September that our event would be moved to the York Hill campus and we were thrilled with the new location,” Co-Chair Kelsey Funk said. “It is definitely daunting because of the sheer size, but with all of our planning efforts, I think it will turn out to be quite an amazing event.”
The event at the TD Bank Sports Center will include a mechanical bull, photo booth, obstacle course and a moon bounce. All these festivities will occur while members from each Relay team walk for the 13-hour event.
Organizers do have some concern that the event will be held on May Weekend.
“It’s been a struggle this year because it was so successful last year and now it’s back on May Weekend,” Plourde said.
Plourde urges upperclassmen living on York Hill to come support the Relay teams, even if only for a few hours. She stressed that sophomores who have cars will be allowed to park at York Hill and freshmen can take shuttles there.