Mount Relay for Life raises $34,000

April 15, 2016

Mount student Amanda Pecorella of Fishkill, N.Y. discussed losing her mother to cancer and how it inspired her to move forward in her academics and her career. 

Mount Saint Mary College’s seventh annual Relay for Life on Friday, April 8 earned more than $34,000 for the American Cancer Society, thanks to the efforts of students, faculty, staff, and volunteers from the community.

More than 400 members of 39 teams took turns walking laps from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. to honor those who have or were lost to cancer and to raise money for a cure.

Survivors, including students, faculty, and alumni, were guests of honor.

The Mount Relay Leadership Committee was led by psychology major Shannon Young of Brooklyn, N.Y.; math major Christina Antico of Smithtown, N.Y.; and sociology-criminology major Kathryn Ulicny of Malverne, N.Y.

At the opening ceremony, Mount student Amanda Pecorella of Fishkill, N.Y., discussed losing her mother to cancer last year. Though the loss was difficult for her, she said it also motivated her to excel in all aspects of her life.

“My mom wouldn’t want me to go on with life telling her stories and missing opportunities because I was sad,” said Pecorella. “She’s the one who led me to turn all of those emotions that come with the loss of a loved one into strength that will lead me further into life, even though she can’t be here with me.”

Pecorella will begin working at Vanacore, DeBenedictus, DiGovanni & Weddell, LLP, a local accounting firm, on May 31 – less than two weeks after graduation.

She and her team raised more than $5,000 for the Relay effort.

“Relay creates hope,” she said. “Tonight I celebrate and I invite you all to celebrate. And I grieve. Do both at the same time, because that’s ok.”

The luminaria ceremony at the Mount’s Relay for Life honored those who have passed away from the illness. 

Relay participant and cancer survivor, Diana Pernicano of Yorktown Heights, N.Y. said that her battle against the illness began in fall 2013 when she found a lump in her neck during a hands-on lesson in a nursing class. She credits the Mount course with saving her life. Pernicano received treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma immediately, and is now cancer free.

“As nursing students, we’re taught to spread healthy habits,” she noted. “Relay for Life is all about healthy programs and habits, so it’s helped me to become a better nurse.”

Himali Pandya, assistant director of Student Activities, was pleased with the work of all the Mount students who contributed to the program.

“The Mount is lucky to have so many service-minded students,” she said. “I was very impressed with their ability to organize the event and their determination to raise as much as possible to fight cancer.”

The Mount’s Relay for Life was sponsored by the Colleges Against Cancer Club, the Student Activities Office, and the American Cancer Society.

The Mount’s Relay for Life has raised about $200,000 to fight cancer in the past seven years.