Cancer, the second leading cause of death in the U.S, has touched the lives of almost every family in America. As a result of the disease’s prevalence, the American Cancer Society began Relay For Life in 1985 to help make progress towards a future without cancer. Since its inception, the relay has included four million people in over 20 countries every year.
“So many people have been affected by cancer, be it friends, parents, or family members. Everyone has connections to it,” said Head Chair of the Relay Caroline Dye ’14.
At last year’s Relay for Life, 144 Deerfield Academy students participated and raised over $20,000, more than any other school-based relay in all of New England. All the money raised in the relay goes directly to cancer research and local programs that support both cancer patients and survivors. This year, Community Service Director Bernie Baker hopes DA will top 200 participants.
“Relay for Life is both a fund- raiser and a consciousness-raiser for the battle against cancer,” commented Dr. Baker, “More than anything, it is a community coming together to raise money, awareness, and support for those who are battling cancer or have loved ones battling cancer.”
What students may not know about Deerfield’s Relay for Life event is that it is completely student-coordinated. The 40 students that make up the many planning committees of the event meet as early as February to start preparing for the big day in May.
“There are tons of people that go into making the event as a whole,” explained Dye. “There are subcommittees like logistics, which sets up the stage; sponsorship, which finds sponsors and donors; and entertainment, which organizes performers–just to name a few.”
Dye also believes that the relay greatly benefits from being student organized. “[The event] iswhatwemakeittobe,andis the result of how much work we put into it,” explained Dye.
Dr. Baker places his complete trust in the student-planned event: “Year in and year out Deerfield students prove that they can do it.”
To get involved with this event, take a minute to visit the Relay for Life website and join one of DA’s numerous teams. This year’s relay will be held on Friday, May 17, on the track.
Relay for Life is a chance for the Deerfield community to come together, work as a collective body, and propel some real change in the world.