Community Invited for 10th Annual Relay at Notre Dame

Author: Gene Stowe

The University of Notre Dame invites the community to the Compton Family Ice Arena on March 28-29 where they will host their 10th annual ND Relay for Life.  On these two days, the campus turns a purple hue, a sign of hope, as Touchdown Jesus is illuminated in purple light and the ice rink at the Compton Family Ice Arena is painted purple.

The event, which has raised more than $1 million for American Cancer Society, brings together the community in the fight against cancer.   This year’s fundraising goal is $200,000, after surpassing the $175,000 goal last year.  Money goes to the American Cancer Society (ACS), which in turn supports important cancer research at Notre Dame. University researchers have received 11 grants totaling more than $3.6 million from ACS.

“The ND Relay for Life is more than a fundraiser,” says Jessica Brookshire, associate director for public affairs and co-chair of relay. “It’s a life-changing experience.  Every person who participates in Relay for Life can take pride in knowing they are working to create a world where cancer will no longer threaten their loved ones.  Relay gives everyone a chance to celebrate cancer survivors, remember those who lost their battle, and raise awareness and funds to help eliminate this dreaded disease.”

The event is sponsored by numerous local businesses and organizations, including the South Bend Medical Foundation. 

“We are very proud to be a sponsor and partner with Notre Dame,” says Christina Tembo, the foundation’s Manager of Blood Donor Recruitment. “Notre Dame is the largest blood donor resource we have in the area, hosting numerous blood drives throughout the year.  At a time when caregivers and family members feel there is nothing they can do for their loved one, donating blood and platelets helps to fill that void.”

Notre Dame students Patrick and Shannon Deasey, sophomores whose triplet brother is also at Notre Dame, will serve as this year’s honorary chairs. They were both born with a rare form of ocular cancer, retinoblastoma, which was successfully treated with radiation while they were infants.

This year’s event kicks off at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 28 and concludes with a waffle and sausage breakfast at 7 a.m. on Saturday, March 29.  “This will be our second year indoors at the Compton Family Ice Arena,” says Roberta White, co-chair of the event.  “We received such positive feedback last year.  Everyone loved the atmosphere and not having to deal with the elements as in past years.” 

Numerous food choices, including Lenten options, will be available from vendors including CJ’s Pub, Massimo’s pizza, Ben’s Pretzels, Centerplate, Ritters and many others, with all proceeds benefiting Relay for Life.

Activities for children and adults include a bounce house, face painting, cookie decorating, massages, and live performances by the ND Glee Club, synchronized skating club, and Harmonia.   Alligator Blackbird, a band that combines rock, soul, reggae, folk, and pop influences, will perform at 10:30 p.m.  An auction will take place from 6-11 p.m.  Bidding can be done by cellphone allowing participants to enjoy the other activities being offered while still staying involved in the bidding process.  Items being auctioned off include autographed Notre Dame and Chicago Blackhawk memorabilia, custom framed photography, and restaurant certificates.

A luminaria ceremony will be held in the darkness at 9:30 p.m. to remember cancer victims and to honor survivors and those battling cancer.  Names will also be displayed on the arena’s Jumbotron. Notre Dame’s Campus Ministry will host an area for participants to pray, reflect, and remember the reasons for the relay.

Participants can register at the door for $10.  However, pre-registration is encouraged. Event, registration and donation information can be found by visiting