(Photos by Kenza Fernandez)
Blair Academy’s Relay for Life event, held with the American Cancer Society, raised over $25,000 to aid the fight against cancer Saturday night. The main event consisted of at least one member of each team walking around the tr
ack for a designated number of hours. The walk symbolized that cancer never sleeps and for that night neither did we.
Blair faculty members and students organized the event, and it was a success by every measure. The way Relay worked was that participants walked from 8 PM to 1 AM. Games and activities were set up on the turf: an outdoor movie, whiffle ball, seed planting, a midnight swim, a bonfire, and several contests for prizes were held throughout the night. The goal for each team was to raise at least one thousand dollars, and for each individual to raise one hundred dollars. Everyone who participated helped fund cancer research, patient care and support programs, education, prevention, and discovery and treatment programs.
The night opened with two survivors telling us their personal stories about fighting cancer and how the disease has impacted them, their loved ones, and their lives. They told us that hope and kindness were the factors that always helped to push them through the roughest times. The survivors, along with their caregivers, walked the first lap, known as the Survivor Lap. Everyone else in attendance lined the inside of the track and cheered them on. At the end of the lap, those affected by cancer were given medals and caregivers were given sashes to recognize their strength. During the second lap, everyone followed behind the survivors to begin the Relay.
At 10 PM, everyone gathered together to hear Jason Newman speak about how his life has been affected by cancer. After hearing his deeply moving words, the Luminaria Silent Lap began. We remembered those who lost their fight against cancer, and honored those in treatment by dedicating luminaria bags to them. Each luminaria had a name of or a message to a loved one. These bags were spread out around the track, and in the dark the lights illuminated a path for everyone to walk along. It was a truly inspirational sight to see.
315 registered participants and at least six survivors attended our event. This was a new participant record for Blair. Hope filled every lap around the track and the Blair community came together to save lives and celebrate life.
(Copyright Essie Pasternak 2017)