Opinion editorials, reviews and personal essays
By Leina Hsu
With luminaria bags glowing in the darkness, we walk around the track arm-in-arm in silent solidarity. A single voice glides through the air with a raw rendition of “Amazing Grace” as we celebrate all the survivors of cancer and pay tribute to all the victims. After a day of bustle, this moment sticks in my mind as one of clarity, where every breath seemed sharp. In a huddle radiating heat, we cross the line to complete the “Survivor Lap”.
The atmosphere is a stark contrast from that of the morning, when students raced about the track, earning points for their respective teams. The spirit of competition was high after weeks of individual fundraising. On the field, an intense game of Capture the Flag began with the blow of a whistle. This kicked off the school’s biggest charity event, Relay for Life, hosted by our very own National Honor Society. As the night air grew cool, people set up their respective tents and camped around the bonfire—hot chocolate and ramen in hand. The track is continuously occupied with participants, some walking, some on wheels. The testicular cancer group flaunted “Ball is Life” t-shirts.
In between the excitement and activity, it is important for us to remember the purpose of Relay for Life. When American Cancer Society started this community fundraising event, their goal was not just to raise money, but to raise awareness for cancer patients around the world. During Relay, we had the opportunity of video-calling cancer battler, Pauline Sylvestre, who, despite still enduring chemotherapy, took the time to spread a message of strength and positivity to the SAS community. She showed us the little matters we forget to embrace because they are so ingrained in our lives—the joy simply to breathe, to move, to explore the city. The event ended as a success with over 180,000 RMB raised.
As this year’s Relay for Life approaches on October 13, I am thrilled to be a part of it once again. Originally having been enticed by the idea of a campus-wide sleepover, I am thoroughly impressed by the friendships I have formed and perspectives I have gained through this experience. With the new students streaming in, there is one thing to keep in mind: Participate with passion for the event, but also consciousness of its gravity.