www.whyville.net Mar 8, 2015 Weekly Issue

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Relay for Life

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Cancer has a high mortality rate and is becoming one of the leading cause of death in those over 20 years of age. Recently I participated in an event that raises not only money for American Cancer Society, but awareness for the disease. The American Cancer Society is a charity that contributes money towards cancer research. They host an event across the country each year, called Relay For Life. Relay for life is an overnight fundraiser hosted by high schools in order to band communities together to help a good cause. It was an "aha moment" for me while participating this year, it really caused me to think about how cancer affects not only the person with the disease, but anyone in their life.

The event is completely non-profit, which means all the money raised by the students will go directly to charity and help those in need. The planning for the event happens months before it actually takes place. Schools are in charge of planning the actual event (entertainment, food, etc), and then it goes into the hands of individual teams to take charge and raise some money. A team can be a group of at least 10 students willing to stay the night. In order to participate, you must raise at least $100. That way there are already thousands of dollars towards charity before the event begins. Throughout the night of the actual event, there are even more ways to raise money. Each team has different mini fundraisers in order to get extra money for the American Cancer Society. For the most part, people make treats and sell them for a dollar each but some find more creative outlets for making money. I've seen many creative things such as karaoke booths, henna tattoos, and selling socks. A "jail" is set up at each event too, where you can pay a dollar in order to put a friend in the fake jail for 15 minutes unless someone pays to get them out. It's a fun way to spend time with friends and continue to raise funds for the charity.

The reason it is called a relay, is because within the 12 hours of being there two members of your team must be walking around the track at all times. Most teams switch at every hour, to make sure everyone participates. The all night aspect is because "cancer never sleeps", so for one night neither will you. Though there is a lot of down-time, it isn't just sitting around on your phone because there are events to make it more exciting. Early in the night, there is a ceremony to pay respects to those who have lost their battle to cancer. There are also several speeches from real cancer survivors. It makes the event seem so much more real, and adds an emotional touch. Music is playing all night, you get to spend time with friends, you get to hear real stories, and there are fun games to participate in.

Personally, I find it to be one of the most fun events to participate in all year. You get a real opportunity to benefit people's lives while enjoying spending time with friends. I encourage everyone to see if their school has a local Relay for Life event, and sign up to participate. Will you Relay?


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