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The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

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Relay for Life aims to further student involvement

With help from South’s cancer awareness club, The Cure, Relay For Life will take place June 25 at Gallery Park in the Glen. Relay for Life is sponsored by the American Cancer Society to raise money and awareness to honor those who have battled cancer.

According to Michelle Reames, a member of the American Cancer Society who runs the event, Relay for Life is the American Cancer Society’s signature fundraiser. Reames explained that it is a 12-hour overnight event where participants of any age “relay” throughout the night.

“The idea behind it is cancer never sleeps and neither do we,” Reames said. “So we try and have at least one person from each team walking the track for the entire 12 hours, kind of like a relay race, and then the team fundraises money that all comes back to the American Cancer Society so we can fund all of our programs for patients and cancer research.”

Reames added that there are many other events taking place during Relay For Life. The event begins with an opening ceremony that is followed by a survivor lap, where cancer survivors walk alone and are then joined by their caregivers.

According to Reames, the luminaria ceremony is an important part of the night. During this time, participants are able to purchase paper bags with a candle in them for $10 in honor of a loved one  who is currently fighting cancer or has passed away from cancer.

“[The candles] light the track, and then we take that time to remember all of those we care about and all of those who fought against cancer and all of those who we’ve lost,” Reames said.

This year, The Cure’s goal for the event is to increase student involvement, according to junior Brittany Balzano, Cure Club president.

According to Balzano, The Cure began by brainstorming ideas to attain more student involvement. In past years, students would have to organize their own teams.

This year, The Cure has created four teams: the Freshman team, Sophomore team, Junior team and Senior team. Additionally, 31 South students from all four grades have been selected to lead the teams and gather support from their classmates at school.

“As of right now we have 200 people already signed up,” Balzano said. “People are really interested and it has shown greatly. This year we are expected to have [high student involvement].”

Balzano credits this student interest to the advertisement from the Spring Sports video, which portrayed student leaders and their reasons why they are going to Relay for Life.

“Our Relay For Life is a little different than [most high schools] because ours is open to the whole community, so you’ll see older families there, or you’ll see an entire neighborhood that comes,” Balzano said.

An Oracle-conducted survey of 276 students revealed that 79 percent of students know someone who has been diagnosed with or affected by cancer, and 92 percent think Relay For Life is an effective way to raise awareness for cancer.

Balzano added that while it used to be necessary for participants to partake in teams, student participants this year will be placed in teams based on their year in school.

Senior Abby Watkins is participating in Relay for Life this year as a leader.

“I am doing relay for life because cancer has touched my life through family and friends for as long as I can remember,” Watkins said. “It is definitely a cause worth fighting for.”

Balzano reflects on her experience participating in Relay for Life as one of her fondest memories.

“It is probably personally the best experience I’ve been through,” Balzano said. “I remember waking up the next morning after the first time I went and thinking, ‘That was the best thing I’ve been through,’ […] No one really tends to think of Relay For Life like that, but hopefully this year they will.”

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