Back in May, Relay for Life – a community event fundraising for cancer research ran by the American Cancer Society – was held in Central Park, Santa Clarita. Besides Santa Clarita Valley, it is a nationwide gather where people of all ages come together to support cancer survivors and its research.
The Relay for life event is mainly divided into three main events: survivor lap, luminaria ceremony, and closing ceremony. During the survivor lap, anyone who was diagnosed with cancer walked around the booths to remember their victory and to share their joy of triumph. During the luminaria ceremony, participants gathered to remember those who have been lost to cancer. Finally, during the closing ceremony, people once again are encouraged to spread cancer awareness and prevention through volunteering and other public actions.
Every year, there is a specific theme that helps guide the design of each booth and this year the theme was Disney’s cruise theme. Among the brightly and colorfully designed booths, volunteers and survivors gathered to raise funds for cancer research and to celebrate or to remember those who bravely fought against cancer.
Whether their families or themselves had this repugnant disease, everyone developed empathy among one another and related to each other. Out of many participants were those from Saugus High School and West Ranch High School who were part of the Wildcats Against Cancer Club. These students organized games, crafts, and lotteries throughout the year, and during the event, visitors could enjoy their evening by engaging in these activities.
One student from the club, Carissa Blasquez, emphasized the importance of developing community action. She noted that “it’s important that we participate in fundraising, no matter how small the amount earned, because it’s not the only way to give back to our community, but it also allows us to assist in finding a cure.” In addition, she encouraged others to take similar actions, speaking that although she and supporters might not be the ones conducting research and finding the cure for cancer, it is their duty to help those who are in need. In the end, Blasquez expressed her contentment, knowing that the money she and her teammates raised will be put to aid others in many different ways.
At the end of the long night, the event was an overall success raising thousands of dollars. However, the true success was when every survivor, volunteer, and participant experienced joy with one another. It was truly an event that emphasized the triumphs of group efforts over adversity that many cannot overcome on their own.
Seunghyeon Shim, Grade 11
West Ranch High School