On the night of April 18, seven Scripps first years, including myself, made the journey to Pomona City Hall in order to participate in the Relay for Life in Pomona, CA. We are part of a team of 15 called "Scrippsies for a Cure," and have been fundraising for the past two months. With a bake and garage sale under our belt, as well as donations from friends and family, Scrippsies for a Cure raised nearly $1,600 for the American Cancer Society, making us the second place team for the relay. According to the Relay for Life website, the money raised save lives by funding "cutting-edge cancer research, early detection and prevention education, advocacy efforts and life-affirming patient services."
The relay on April 18 was both a celebration of our team's efforts, as well as inspiration to continue the fight against cancer. The relay lasted 24 hours, and participants were expected to walk around a track the entire time. The Luminaria Ceremony took place as the sun set. Participants lit candles donated by friends and family of cancer victims and survivors, and arranged them in the word "hope" around the track. Survivors spoke about their experiences, and some read poems. That night, not a single eye was dry.
Co-Captain Shailini Pandya ('12) reflected upon the night of the relay. She remembered it as "a mind-blowing experience. Our team really came together for the night and bonded. The Luminaria Ceremony brought tears to our eyes, joy to our hearts and hope to our souls."
Yasamin Soltanianzadeh ('12) agreed. She called the relay "an unforgettable experience!" She added, "It opened my eyes to how many people are affected by cancer but that there is a great support available to help patients, family and friends through the difficult time."
It was difficult to stay up all night and continue walking, but our efforts symbolized the ongoing fight against cancer. As the sun rose and we shook our aching limbs and sleepy eyes awake, we were inspired to continue walking by the sight of cancer survivors themselves trudging around the track with us all night long. Their efforts, and the efforts of all of the relay participants, are what continuously encourage us to never give up.
Next year, we hope to bring a Relay for Life event to the 5Cs. Teams from the colleges as well as the surrounding Claremont community can come together to honor cancer victims and survivors in their lives, as well as contribute to our ongoing fight and experience the inspiration and hope that Relay for Life provides. Whether you have been personally affected by cancer or not, Relay for Life allows you to directly empower and benefit those who have been, and to engage yourself in and impact your community.