Relay for Life hosts overnight event for cancer

Jordan Leal, News Editor

Ludlow High School will be hosting its first over-night American Cancer Society Relay for Life event at the track May 12 and 13.
“This is a life-changing event that gives everyone in the community of Ludlow a chance to take part in a celebration of the lives of people who have battled cancer, to remember loved ones that we’ve lost, and fight with the ones who are battling against it now,” said American Cancer representative, Helen Van Riel.

Relay for Life lasts 24 hours where teams of 8 to 15 people take turns walking around a track for a full day and night. Families, corporations, clubs, hospitals, churches, and different parts of the school all organize Relay teams where at least one member of each team will be on the track all night long.

Riel is working closely with junior Disha Patel and two other community members, Patricia Gregoire and Natalina Tulick, to organize the event.

Riel explained that Relay for life is a volunteer-driven event. All chairs work together to form different planning committees that include team recruitment, logistics, food and entertainment. She also said one committee will focus on “survivership,” where team members recruit cancer survivors to attend the event.

“The planning committee meetings have already started, and we meet in the LHS library every few weeks,” said chair member LHS junior Disha Patel. “Each committee is in charge of their own station and money donations. While all three chairs and Helen check in with each of them and make sure everything is going as planned.”

So far 21 teams have registered for the event. All three chairs are hoping to have at least 36 teams on the night of the Relay.

“The Portuguese club will be forming their own Relay team,” said junior Portuguese club member Jillian Batista. “We will all be wearing green, the color of lymphoma cancer, to honor Senhora  Santos-Pones sister who battled and survived this disease.”

This is the first year that LHS  will be hosting its very own Relay for Life overnight event. In the past two years LHS has had “Mini” Relay for lives, but this year they are ready to tackle the challenges of a full 24 hour one.

“We know that cancer never sleeps, so neither are we,” said Riel. “This event unites all people and truly brings them together for a 24-hour period. We are all aimed at one effort to fight back against cancer with the hopes that one day it will be eradicated.”

Money will be raised based on how much each team walks, and any other special activities each committee has designed within their team including raffles, tee-shirts, games, etc.

“The money that is raised at Relay for Life goes to funding research, educating people about cancer, helping advocate for those who are battling cancer, and helping fund our patient services,” said Riel.

Riel explained that a big goal for the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life was to create a world “with more birthdays” and less cancer by helping to find a cure to keep people well.

As a result this year’s theme will be More Birthdays. Every participant is encouraged to come with decorations and join the Cancer Society as they celebrate everyone who is celebrating more birthdays due to better cancer research and detection.
Patel explained that this is an event where everyone is welcomed. There will be bounce houses, live entertainment from the school, a 24-hour playing DJ, food, night volleyball, movie tents, and other activities.

“People should really participate in this event ultimately because this is their chance to show their support and admiration for those who have battled cancer. One in three people will be diagnosed with cancer throughout their lifetime. We now have the chance to make a difference by fighting to find cures, and giving those survivors the recognition of the strength they possess,” said Patel.