Sixth Annual Relay For Life Strives for More Birthdays

Cancer survivors take the first lap during the annual Relay For Life on April 25.

News Story: May 7, 2014

Sacred Heart University’s Sixth Annual Relay For Life event took place April 25-26, and when it was all over, SHU students had raised a record-breaking $43,000. This year’s theme was a giant birthday party—commemorating the many birthdays that will be celebrated by cancer survivors as a result of this fundraiser. Relay For Life at Sacred Heart is organized by students in support of the American Cancer Society.

President John Petillo and sophomore John Hallak, a brain cancer survivor, opened the ceremonies Friday evening, followed by a survivor’s walk around the track. Survivors included alumni, students, faculty members and family members. Cancer survivors were invited to a private reception in the Pitt Center Board Room before the opening ceremonies. Entertainment during the event included a performance by SHU choir students, a performance by the SHU Dance Ensemble and a show by popular singer, Bill Haug ’12. Activities included karaoke, a photo challenge, Zumba and more.

Speakers throughout the evening included Samantha Novack ’14, luminaria speaker; survivors Sabina Petillo and Professor Shirley Pavone; and alumnus Robert Valluzzo.

For the first time, the University’s Relay committee partnered with the Town of Fairfield to collect canned food from attendees as part of the town’s 375th anniversary activities. The first selectman of Fairfield, Michael Tetreau, was present to celebrate the night and present the University with a proclamation declaring April 25-26as Relay for Life Day at Sacred Heart University.

Barb Susi, community and donation chair for SHU’s Relay event, who is also an alumna and former employee of the university, commented on how impressed she was with the students this year. “I couldn’t believe how many‚Ä®participated. They all caught Relay fever this year! Our alumni were very impressed with seeing the ‘heart’ in everyone,” she said. The team is still hoping to reach its $50,000 goal in commemoration of SHU’s 50th anniversary. Tax-deductible donations can still be made through SHU’s Relay website by visiting

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