Chieftain Press

Relay is Back Again

Julia Barshak and Kristen Nash

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Almost everyone in the Nashoba community knows about Relay for Life, as the school is very active in participating in this annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Each year, Nashoba hosts a night full of mixed emotions as Relay takes place on the track.

Teams also have the option of fundraising at the event. In past years, fundraisers have included bake sales, car washes, and raffles. One of the most popular fundraisers from last year turned out to be water balloons.

Relay for Life lands on June 3rd this year, and goes from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m the next day. The entire night is filled with nonstop activities like walking the track, participating in other teams’ fundraisers, and even bringing a soccer ball to just have fun with friends. So far, there are 23 teams signed up, and the relay coordinators are hopeful the number will continue to rise.

This year, Relay is incorporating different themes into each lap. The theme of the night is Around-the-World. Each team chooses a country to represent and puts together a look based around that county. The idea is to represent a connection of cancer fighters everywhere in the world.

“I think it’s important for young people to get involved in something that makes them think outside of themselves,” says twelve-year participant Liz Miller. “Everyone, whether they know it or not, knows someone who has battled cancer.” Miller, a seventh grade teacher at Florence Sawyer, invites and encourages her students to become involved. “The National Cancer Institute predicts that there will be 1,685,210 new cases of cancer and 595,690 deaths due to cancer in 2016.  I want students to be aware that they can and should make a difference in this world beyond their small part of it.”

The most noteworthy events during Relay are the several ceremonies throughout the night, including the opening, luminaria, and closing ceremony. Several guest speakers share their stories and participants often realize just how many people are affected by cancer. It is a very emotional time. During the survivors’ lap, everyone celebrates and remembers those that they have lost or those who have won the fight of cancer. One of the most iconic moments of the night is the luminaria ceremony. The ceremony begins at sundown when candles are lit inside personalized paper bags which are then placed around the Relay track as glowing tributes to those who have been affected by cancer.

But how much of a difference does participating in Relay for Life make? According to Miller, “Since 1946, $4 billion worth of funding has gone to cancer research.  This research has contributed to most of the major cancer breakthroughs in recent history and 47 American Cancer Society-funded researchers have gone on to win Nobel Prizes for their work.”

It is clear that Relay for Life is effective. Not only does it raise money, but it also provides a sense of community and support for individuals living with cancer and their families. If this amount of support continues, it is inevitable that cancer will soon be a thing of the past.

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