Like many others, my life has been touched and shaped by cancer. I am fortunate to have never had the disease but after several close relatives and friends suffered and died from it, I had to do something to change the course of cancer’s presence in my life. In high school, I started organizing for Relay for Life.
Relay for Life is an annual fundraising event for the American Cancer Society that takes place around the world. Besides being fun, the event spreads awareness of cancer prevention, offers support to cancer survivors, honors those who have lost their lives to cancer, and raises money for research. I organized my first team in high school: “Disney Princesses Wishing Away Cancer.” We had an awesome time, dressing up like princesses and making our tent look like a castle. For the next three years, I was a team captain. Relay became a huge part of my high school experience, extending well beyond the 18 hours that the actual event lasted.
When I came to Oberlin, I hoped to get involved with Relay here. I quickly stumbled upon Kate Cook’s volunteer request posted in the classifieds. Soon after, I joined the planning committee for Oberlin’s first ever Relay for Life. For the event, I started my own team: the Pirates Dueling Cancer. Decked out in black and red pirate attire, we had a “Walk the Plank Cake Walk.”
That first year, we raised over $20,000.
My last year, I served as co-chair of Relay with three other Obies, and joined Oberlin Christian Fellowship’s team. The overall event theme was “Relay Around the World,” so we chose to represent Australia. Our on-site fundraiser was “burgers on the barby,” making delicious grilled food to order and assembling it into decorated bags.
For the past five years, I’ve had great experiences as a captain and organizer. Oberlin’s Relay hopes to not only continue growing and increasing donations, but also to give back to the community. Relayers strive to provide a fun-filled event for both the community and the college, as well as show our support for cancer survivors and victims in Oberlin and around the world, hopefully for many years to come.
I encourage everyone to start a team!