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Track-ing a Cure

“Celebrate. Remember. Fight back.” These are the words strewn across the purple banner on the Relay for Life homepage. Each year, more than 3.5 million people in 5,000 communities take part in the Relay for Life to fundraise for the American Cancer Society. Why? Because cancer affects almost everyone.

Deerfield Academy will host its 3rd Mini-Relay for Life on Saturday, May 12, on the track.

The structure of the venue for the event emphasizes one of its major functions. “The idea is situated on a track, and you think about going around the track as a race, a race to find a cure,” Community Service Director Bernie Baker explained. Leading up to the day of the event, student-formed teams have asked family and friends to raise awareness and money.

During the event, “You’re walking around the track with friends, music is playing, there’s food… It’s a social event. It’s a time to come together and celebrate your health and life, and try to raise money to extend other people’s health and life,” Dr. Baker said.

Led by co-chairs John Lee ’13 and Mariah Kennedy Cuomo ’13, this year’s relay is almost entirely student-run.

Having started much earlier this year, leadership committees have begun promoting the event, encouraging participation, and planning logistics for food and entertainment. After experiencing two relays and eagerly awaiting the success of the third, the Community Service Board is more organized and ambitious.

“The relay is empowering because I get to help create something that everyone is able to participate in. I am a part of something bigger than myself,” Lee noted.

According to Dr. Baker, Relay for Life has the potential to be the largest single service event at DA. “Ultimately, one of the things that we want from service is that sense of empowerment because that’s what leads you to your next act of service,” he said.

Currently, sixteen teams are signed up, but both Lee and Dr. Baker are confident that more groups will form in the upcoming weeks. Kevin Tang ’12, Anna Pettee ’13, Emma Beck ’13, and Sunho Park ’14 are among some of the team leaders.

As Lee said at school meeting in early April, “You can go onto the Relay for Life website and sign up. It only takes two minutes.” Two minutes to make a lasting difference.

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