Marist High School held its sixth annual Relay for Life benefiting the American Cancer Society on Saturday, March 3 from noon until midnight and raised $51,000.
Nearly 300 students participated in the event that honors those who have faced or are currently battling cancer. A student committee worked on the event since the fall, planning fundraisers, educational events, and more. "This entails a lot of brainstorming at weekly meetings, reaching out to various restaurants for donations, and basically just figuring out how to keep a ton of high school students occupied for twelve hours," event chair Abbie O'Connell '18 explained. "Relay for Life is obviously a huge, important event, and pulling it off is no easy feat, but seeing it all come together made all those months of stress and hard work so worth it!"
The day itself featured student and adult speakers, cancer survivors, and a memorial for those who have lost their battle against cancer. To keep energy high through the 12-hour fundraiser, many fun activities were available including a miniature golf course, inflatable obstacle courses, athletic games, music and more.
Many of the students who participate have known a close family member or friend diagnosed with cancer. "For me, Relay for Life is a way to make a difference in the lives of so many people and a way to change the outcome of a cancer diagnosis" event chair Katlyn Hansen '18 said. "Cancer doesn't discriminate, so it effects everyone in the world. As young people, we are reminded that we have the power to change the world for the better, but this can be a daunting task. Relay for Life makes that task less intimidating. Students participate in Relay because it is a way for us as high school students to become heroes and positively affect our world."
“The students make this event a personal mission to help eradicate cancer,” said Colleen Pochyly, a Marist campus minister who co-moderated the event. “Every family has a cancer story and this event helps to give our students back some of the power and control that cancer takes from their lives.”
In just six short years, Marist has raised nearly $300,000 through this event. Marist is also the only Catholic school in Illinois to host its own Relay for Life.
Relay is not the only event at Marist that benefits cancer research. The campus ministry office coordinates “Think Pink” benefiting the Cancer Center at Little Company of Mary Hospital and participates in Bald for St. Brigid, which helps fund pediatric cancer research through CureSearch, during alternating school years.