Students walk to raise awareness for cancer research
Relay For Life is an event that allows for WHS students to fundraise for cancer research, as well as remember family and friends lost to the disease. This year, Relay For Life was held on Friday, May 3, to Saturday, May 4, in the Weston middle school gym, with the sole purpose of raising awareness and funds for cancer research.
The event was filled with both fun and games, as well as commemorations for those who have or are currently battling with cancer.
“Throughout the event, which goes all night, from six P.M. to six A.M., people take turns walking around the designated path in order to remember those who are fighting cancer,” senior Hailey Levin said. “In addition, there are fun events and games for your team to compete with other teams. These games range from capture the flag, to mafia at midnight. As well as the games, there were small ceremonies throughout the night to honor people who are fighting or have fought cancer.”
One ceremony held was the Luminaria ceremony. Senior and co-president of Relay For Life David Dangond explained the significance of the Luminaria ceremony.
“The Luminaria ceremony is the most impactful part of Relay For Life, where everyone comes together with glow sticks to light up the night, bring hope to those who are battling cancer, and remember those whose lives were lost,” Dangond said. “During the ceremony, everyone was given the opportunity to share why they relay, which reinforces the fact that we are all in this fight together and brings hope through a shared vision of a cancer-free future.”
Guidance counselor and faculty advisor of Relay For Life Samson Luu provided insight on the metaphorical meaning of the event.
“The reason why it is an overnight event is that it represents the battle people go through when they are fighting cancer. There are going to be some dark times, but the next day there will be light at the end of the tunnel, which is what the event is supposed to signify,” Luu said.
This event also had a personal significance for some students.
“The event means a lot to me because it is a great way to raise money for cancer and at the same time honor those who have been affected by it during the luminaria ceremony,” freshman Elizabeth Crawford said. “My family was affected by cancer [and] now that the reality of cancer is evident to me, I am trying to be as active as I can to prevent other families from going through what my family went through.”
Over the course of four years, Relay For Life has raised a substantial amount of money through funds, donations and hosting the event.
“In the past years, we have ranged anywhere from $10,000 to $24,000. Over $14,000 was raised this year, [which] includes efforts from coaches versus cancer at Wayland and WHS with all the fundraising and donations,” Luu said.
Luu explained his expectations and hopes for future Relay For Life events.
“My hope is that even more students will participate in future years and see how great of an event it is! Cancer is something that affects everyone–we all know someone directly or indirectly who has been impacted by this disease. With everyone’s combined efforts, we can work towards a day when we don’t have to worry about cancer hurting our loved ones any longer,” Luu said.