Battle of the schools: Relay for Life at Virginia Tech hopes to continue winning streak for annual “Trifecta Challenge”

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) – Three schools. Three days. One fight for a cure.

For over five years, Relay for Life at Virginia Tech, University of Virginia, and James Madison University are participating in the “Trifecta Challenge”, a competition to see which school can recruit the most people to sign up for Relay for Life in three days.

Relay for Life at Virginia Tech has been the largest collegiate relay in the country for over 10 years and has never lost the “Trifecta Challenge”, but with JMU recently named the second-largest collegiate relay, they’re eager to sign up as many participants as they can now more than ever.

“We’re really trying to push to beat them again this year because we’ve never lost a Trifecta event at all, so this is the biggest push to keep going because now, this past year, was the first year that they’ve been second. So we want to keep our title of Trifecta and then still the largest collegiate relay in the country,” says Sarah Newman, public relations executive for Relay for Life at Virginia Tech.

Last year, with over 6,000 participants, the school was able to raise $472,000 in donations, contributing to an overall total of $6 million donated to the American Cancer Society. The money raised goes towards resources for cancer patients such as providing free rides to treatment and free nights of lodging through Hope Lodge communities and hotel partners.

This year, Virginia Tech hopes to raise $500,000 for the special cause.

From October 1-3, 2019, the school will set up booths around campus in hopes to get people to sign, recruit friends, and develop as many teams as they can to get them closer to their half-a-million goal.

Once the three days are over, the numbers will be drawn from each participating school and a winner will be announced. But the friendly competition isn’t over.

In the spring, JMU, UVA, and Virginia Tech also compete in the “Trifunda Challenge”, another competition that focuses on fundraising efforts.

Newman was a participant in last year’s Relay for Life event and she raised $5,200, becoming one of the highest individual fundraisers.

“It was a lot of Facebook posting throughout the entire year. I started right during Trifecta, really pushed it then, and then I had sponsorships and stuff like that to my individual page which really, really helps,” says Newman.

The challenges and yearly fundraising by participants will all conclude with the Relay for Life event, a big celebration that recognizes fundraising efforts, supports cancer research, honors cancer patients that were lost, and celebrates cancer survivors.

“All of this money goes back to such an amazing cause because we all know somebody who has been affected or will be affected by cancer in some way, shape, or form. So we really want to give back early, so that we can continue fundraising throughout the year,” says Newman.

Virginia Tech’s 2020 Relay for Life will take place April 10 on the Drillfield at 3 p.m.

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