They came into the gymnasium with their pillows and blankets, and would stay up all night to help fight cancer.

The annual Relay for Life at Gettysburg College to help raise money for the American Cancer Society started Friday night and was to last until Saturday morning.

Last year's event raised around $35,000, and as of Friday night the 2012 relay raised $20,000, according to organizers Shane Swink and Christine Serwan, both juniors at the college. The hope was even more would be raised through the night.

This year, 37 teams participated in the relay, which used the theme of the Monopoly board game.

The relay is the American Cancer Society's signature event in which teams across the country raise money while making laps around a track.

Students Nick Hommes, foreground, and Nathan Blyler, both members of Colleges Against Cancer, give a test run to the cotton candy machine before the
Students Nick Hommes, foreground, and Nathan Blyler, both members of Colleges Against Cancer, give a test run to the cotton candy machine before the walkers arrive Friday night. This year s event raised more than $20,000 for the American Cancer Society. (THE EVENING SUN CLARE BECKER)
The Gettysburg College event was organized by the student club Colleges Against Cancer. The relay included a survivors' walk and ceremony.

Swink said he first got involved with the club and relay because people in his family have fought cancer.

The key to staying up all night and being able to complete the laps around the track in Bream-Wright Hauser Field House, Swink said, is to always make sure there are things to do.

Along the track were tables set up with different activities for students to participate in when they weren't walking or taking a nap.

Brittany Little and her sorority brought wine glasses for other students to decorate. For $2, students could purchase a wine glass to decorate. The money that Little's team raised through the wine glasses would go back to the American Cancer Society.

Liz Rouillard's sorority was also participating in the relay. With the team name "Alex's Lemonade," the team was selling drinks and snacks to help raise more money for the American Cancer Society.

The sorority has always participated in the relay using that name, Rouillard said, because years ago a student in the sorority named Alex passed away from cancer.

"We're here for support," said fellow sorority member Megan Bernstein.

It was also personal for Rebecca Deffler and Kevin Lugo, members of the co-ed service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. They've done the relay before, they said, but this year, another student in the fraternity is currently battling cancer.

And if staying up through the night could help one of their members, then the 15 students in Alpha Phi Omega were going to do just that.

Those interested in donating can still do so by visiting www.relayforlife.org.