Relay For Life committee members explain event’s purpose, information; students encouraged to participate

Sally Cochran, Editor in Chief

You’ve heard all about it.
“Relay kickoff meeting is Oct. 10! If you want to be a captain, be sure to be there!”
But, what is Relay?
If you haven’t participated in Relay, this is for you.
Relay is an all-night event, running from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. There are various activities all night including ceremonies relating to the message of Relay.
“I always enjoy once everybody comes together for the ceremonies, especially the luminaria ceremonies,” Co-chair senior Katie Theisen said. “Although it’s really sad, I think it’s really cool. What I’ve done in the past is go around and take pictures of my friend’s and family’s luminaria. This last year, I took a picture of a boy named Hayden’s [luminaria], and I sent it to his parents. I got a call from Hayden that evening saying ‘Thank you for fighting for me.’ It was really cool to hear somebody who is going through cancer being so thankful for something that we’re doing that may not even affect them directly.”
Relay also includes entertaining activities running throughout the night.
“[My favorite relay memory] is on my first relay, which was my freshman year, I played Frisbee for seven hours straight from like 12 to 7 [a.m.],” Junior Chair junior Arjun Prakash. “It was the only way I could stay awake.”
Even though there are many fun events at Relay, the total atmosphere can be emotional and serious as well.
“I think it brings people together so much,” Co-chair senior Riley Adelmund said. “As the night progresses, you just get to express and feel things that you don’t normally feel. I know people are nearly in tears after Luminaria, and you may not know a single person on that stage.”
Co-sponsor Adam Wade said that even if you don’t raise the full $100 required to stay from 7  p.m. to 7 a.m., your participation is still greatly valued.
“Every dime, every penny counts,” he said. “We have people who participate in this event who only stay until midnight, don’t raise the full amount, and that’s fine. That’s perfectly legitimate. We will take all the money towards cancer research that we can get.”
Wade said he loves the serving nature of this activity.
“What I love about this activity is that students are doing things for other people, and not for themselves,” he said. “It’s awesome if you’re great at basketball or Scholar’s bowl or band or any of those things, but, at the end of the day, those events are for you. You do them because you like it, you’re good at it, you might want to pursue some career relating to that. The absolutely best part is that is something that gives money to a tremendous cause, and you can remember it for the rest of your life as doing good for the community.”
Although there are Relay participants who don’t know anyone who has had cancer, Adelmund said knowing someone who has had it changes your perspective about the event.
“I think if you know someone personally [who has cancer], it does drive you and makes you a lot more passionate about the event,” she says. “It may be a fun time, but most of us here, especially on the committee, it really touches us on a different level.
Theisen changes particpants’ perspective about cancer.
“To hear people talk about [cancer] — we have a fight back ceremony where people who have had cancer come and tell their story,” she said. “I think it really hits home with people because, sometimes, when you’re raising money, you can’t exactly see the side effects of cancer. Not everybody knows somebody with cancer, but when you do to relay, you get a little piece of a bigger situation.”
The Kickoff meeting (for everyone interested in becoming a captain) is on Oct. 10.
“Anyone can be a team captain — anyone can put together a team,” Co-sponsor Adam Wade said. “To be a good team captain, I think organization is one of the big keys because you’re going to have a lot of people to manage. The best team captains are the most organized.”
If you are interested in just being on a team, make sure to find a team captain. Forms will be due to your captain in early November, depending on your specific captain.
“Being a team member requires really no additional work other than raising the money,” Wade said.
Wade said the BV Relay is unique because it is a high school Relay as opposed to a community Relay.
“There are tons of community relays — those are the common ones,” he said. “If you go to any town that’s maybe over 1,000 people in the United States, chances are they’ve got a relay event. I think it is awesome to have so many young people involved. And not only just involved, but planning the event. I mean, honestly, my job is always been to be a liason when they need information of some kind and to work with the district, with our administrators, and the [American Cancer Society]. The kids really do all the work. Our committee does everything. I take a lot of pride in the fact that our growth in this event from being an event that raised under 20,000 dollars to just from our end alone three to four times that’s all student lead and all student driven. I just think that’s awesome.”
Relay is considered a favorite extracurricular of many BV students.
“Anything you can think of, Relay’s better,” Prakash said.
Prakash said that he’s seen participants’ motives for joining Relay change throughout their years.
“It starts off with them wanting to be with their friends and have fun,” he said. “As it goes and as they realize what it is, it turns into wanting to make a difference and wanting to be a part of something bigger.”
Theisen said that if you haven’t gone to Relay before, you should come just to meet new people.
“You have a blast, and it’s a great way to meet other kids of your age, upperclassmen, people from other schools because we do it with Southwest, West and now North,” she said. It’s a really good way for people to get involved with the school and with another activity. It’s also just important to come and have fun. I have more fun during the night of relay than any other event during the school year.”