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Gannon University Hosts 2023 Relay For Life: Fightin’ For a Cure

Published: 03/10/2023

The theme of this year's event is “Fightin’ For A Cure” and includes various sports-themed activities.

The theme of this year's event is “Fightin’ For A Cure” and includes various sports-themed activities.

Gannon University’s Relay for Life will take place on Saturday, March 18 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Gannon’s Recreation and Wellness Center, 103 W. Fourth Street. The theme this year is “Fightin’ For A Cure” and includes various sports-themed activities. 

The world’s largest volunteer-based fundraising walk event, Relay for Life gives participants the opportunity to celebrate survivors, remember those they have lost and raise funds to end cancer. It is also a great learning opportunity for members of Gannon’s Relay for Life club.

“Students learn so much by organizing this event and also do so much,” says Ann Bomberger, associate professor of English and advisor of Gannon’s Relay for Life club. “Student leaders plan, inspire, organize, delegate, follow up, communicate, troubleshoot and a variety of things over the course of months. They are very impressive.”

Relay for Life Club President Gwen Ciletti-Dougherty says the event is a fantastic way to bring campus together.

“When I was asked to take over the Presidency this academic year, I was excited because I had so many ideas and I had members who were eager to help and bring it all to fruition,” says Ciletti-Dougherty. “The best part of the event, in my opinion, is seeing how dedicated people are to the cause and ultimately their reaction when we announce the grand total.”

The event will begin at 11 a.m. with a welcome from Keith Taylor, Ph.D., Gannon University President, including an opening prayer from Father Kesicki. Anne O’Neill, cancer survivor and associate professor in the School of Communications and the Arts will also address the crowd. Cancer survivors are invited to attend the opening ceremony and will receive a lunch from Panera. There will be various contests with prizes and live music by Psycho Hosebeast.  Online registration by March 18 is required, but earlier registration is encouraged. 

The remembrance luminaria ceremony is open to all with no charge and will begin at 3:30 p.m., with a closing ceremony at 3:40. “I find the luminaria ceremony very moving because each light represents an individual who has had cancer,” adds Bomberger. “Cancer often impacts not only that person but the whole person’s family. By lighting a light we show our support for one another and show our hope for a cure to cancer.”

Tickets are $15. Participants will receive lunch from Jersey Mike’s Subs, snacks, a coupon for half of a pizza at the flagship city food hall, and various activities. Luminaries are $2 each and may be purchased by anyone via the website or in person. Website purchases are only available until March 14 and will be $5 for two. $1 raffle tickets for items donated by local businesses will be available to anyone in the Recreation and Wellness Center between 10 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. on March 18. You do not need to be present to win. All proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society. 

All attendees and survivors can register online at, where they can also submit donations. Attendees are also welcome to call a 24/7 hotline for assistance with registering at 1-800-227-2345.

All media inquiries can be made by contacting Haley Figurski, Media Relations and Marketing Manager, at 814-823-1886.