FSU’s Relay for Life wins national American Cancer Society award

A student-led Florida State University Relay for Life event has won first place in a national competition for demonstrating successful practices and innovations in support of the mission and goals of the American Cancer Society.

Three members of the FSU event’s executive committee — Arthur Beredjick, Gabby Antignano and Carolyn Scullion — accepted the American Cancer Society’s 2014 Heart of Relay Youth Mission Award at a Relay for Life Leadership Conference Dec. 5 in Orlando. The award recognizescommunity-, collegiate- and youth-led Relay for Life events.

Beredjick, a senior majoring in accounting and finance who served as the team’s leader, characterized receiving the award as “an incredible moment.”

“One of our huge goals, aside from fundraising to find a cure for cancer, was to educate the FSU community on the importance of self-checks and prevention, so being nationally recognized for our efforts to do so is truly humbling,” Beredjick said. “We are lucky to have amazing support from students and organizations on campus, and their passion for a cure is what motivates us to continue working toward a great Relay for Life event.”

Beredjick, Antignano and Scullion were part of the FSU event’s 35-member executive committee. More than 4,000 Florida State students participated in the event.

Beyond the fact that the FSU event raised more than $220,000 over the past year, it stood out from other events because of its focus on “mission delivery,” or ensuring that FSU’s campus community was aware that Relay for Life is an event that supports the American Cancer Society’s fight against cancer.

Awareness-raising activities included sharing inspiring survivor stories and other weekly “mission messaging” on social media. The students held activities during Greek-organization rush to encourage their fellow students to join the Cancer Action Network, which is the American Cancer Society’s sister advocacy organization.

“I truly admire the energy, commitment and dedication of these Seminoles in supporting the American Cancer Society and the fight against cancer,” said Ralph DeVitto, executive vice president of the American Cancer Society’s Florida Division. “They exemplify a new generation of citizen leaders that uphold the values inscribed in the Florida State University seal: Strength, Skill and Character.”

Relay for Life is the American Cancer Society’s signature fundraiser. Each year, more than 4 million people in 20 countries raise funds and awareness to save lives from cancer through the Relay for Life movement.