We were challenged as freshmen to come up with a community service project to give back. A group of us got together to brainstorm and plan. I thought about how we could benefit the most people and get the most meaningful investment in the project. Almost everyone knows someone who has battled with cancer, so I proposed we start a Relay for Life team. The idea stuck, and I was the designated team captain to get this plan going.
What began as a one-time project turned into our high school’s yearly service plan. For five years (I went to a five-year high school), I served as the team captain, but I could not have done it without the help and dedication of my classmates. Our weekend spent at Relay each year was the one time during the school year we collaboratively worked together as a school. Sure, there were other times we worked on other big projects, but this was by far our biggest and involved the majority of the student body and faculty.
I always looked forward to Relay for Life each year. We were just a bunch of high schoolers, but to see the comradery build and the kind-heartedness among us was inspiring. I am sure there were other places our team members could have chosen to be during those weekends, but they chose Relay. That showed great dedication on their part and is a testament to the character of the school. We understood the effects cancer has on families, and some of us had personal ties to those effects.
My favorite memory from each year will forever have a special place in my heart. The nine o’clock hour is always the hour we celebrate and honor the won and lost battles by lighting candles in white luminary bags with names on them. My only request during Relay was that every team member be at our tent site during this time. My heart was so full during this time at the event. The entire fairgrounds fell silent, the bagpiper could be heard throughout the sites, and to see fifty (plus) students and some parents during this time was emotional. To see the support and compassion shown among peers brought hope, and gave us time to reflect why we were all there.
Of course, we had a great time those days and nights at Relay. We also got the majority of our volunteer hours we needed to graduate. But, that is not why we did what we did. The goal was to raise money and awareness for The American Cancer Society to hopefully see the world with less cancer and more birthdays.
©Inquisitive Perspectives 2017