Relay for Life: Moe’s, Aliens and Princess Leia

(Picture: The Black Hole Penetrators at our Moe’s fundraiser for Relay for Life.)

Recently, the America Cancer Society held a Relay for Life event right here on Florida Tech’s campus.  Several student groups formed their own relay teams to help raise money for the fight against cancer. The physics department had their own team, the Black Hole Penetrators, created by our own Society of Physics Students (SPS) and  Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) club. The technology we have right now cannot go into a black hole and the cure for cancer eludes mankind, but with events such as Relay for Life, we hope to be able to make a difference in the world . . . and have fun while doing so!

Before the event, SPS/SEDS hosted a fundraiser event at Moe’s Southwest Grill on Palm Bay Road. Anyone who bought something at Moe’s between five and eight in the evening and told the cashier they were participating in our fundraiser received 10% off their purchase, which was then donated to our Relay team. We got to go hang out at Moe’s for those three hours, helping clean tables, greeting people at the door and making people feel welcome once they arrived. The employees at Moe’s and everyone who came to support us were fantastic! The fundraiser went very well and was a good prelude for the actual event that weekend.

The event started at 6 p.m. on Friday and ended at noon on Saturday. The purpose of the event was for people to walk laps all night long, while others manned the booths each team set up to raise more money. The theme this year was “Cruising for a Cure” and each team had its own “port.” We decided to make ours into a space port, Space Port 42, to be exact. We made an enormous back-drop of an alien landscape, with purple mountains, blue grass, a lake of mercury, two moons and a ringed planet in the sky. One of our officers, Kimberley Walton, even made several alien creatures to set up around our site! Some of the fundraisers we had for the night included rides on our “hover car,” selling Black Hole Penetrator shirts and raffling off a poster of Giorgio Tsoukalos (because of his obsession with aliens and our being an alien space port).

Various activities were scheduled all through the night, such as Jazzercise, tug-of-war, Relay Jeopardy, Sudoku, limbo, street soccer, musical chairs and karaoke . One of the bigger events was the Mr. Relay contest, where one guy from each team dresses up for a beauty contest. This year our volunteer was John Bohanon dressed up as Princess Leia. And boy, was he impressive! Several people mistook him for a woman from behind and it was quite hilarious to see the look on their faces when they realized he wasn’t. The main point of the contest was for people to donate to the “woman” they think deserves it the most, based on the contestants’ answers to various questions on stage. Our Princess Leia came in second place with the College Players contestant taking first, who also had someon dressed as Princess Leia. So, no matter how you look at it, Princess Leia won Mr. Relay!

(Picture: John Bohanon as Princess Leia on the “hover car.”)

The Black Hole Penetrators rocked throughout the night, participating in every event and winning quite a few of them. For example, we won Relay Jeopardy, Sudoku, musical chairs, limbo, Haiku writing and a few others. We won Most-Spirited Team for the second time in a row.  Putting aside the competition between teams, the Relay event as a whole raised over $16,000 to put toward cancer research. Hopefully, sometime in the near future events like these won’t be necessary.  But, until a cure is found, we all need to show our support for those struggling against the horror that is cancer. Good job, Florida Tech and hopefully we’ll all see each other at Relay for Life 2014!

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