The faint, gleaming paper lanterns that lined the Case Memorial Cage lit the way as students walked a silent lap around the indoor track during Relay for Life after the Lumi- naria Ceremony.
Relay for Life is a worldwide charity event and walk that raises awareness and funds to support cancer research and treatment. Held this past Sat- urday, Andover’s Campuses Against Cancer club hosted a four-hour relay. Hundreds of students, faculty, and staff members participated and do- nated for Andover’s third an- nual Relay for Life. All of the donations will be given to the American Cancer Society.
“[Relay for Life] is an event that brings together students, faculty, staff, parents and a whole group of faculty chil- dren too – it is rare that one event at Andover can pull all of us close. Like everyone there, cancer has hit close to home
for me – both my parents and grandparents – and too many close friends have battled can- cer. This relay is one way so many of us all can come to- gether in hope, strength, and solidarity,” said Elisa Joel, Di- rector of Enrollment Manage- ment and Faculty Advisor to Campuses Against Cancer, in an email to The Phillipian.
The Luminaria Ceremony was a solemn, midway break from the upbeat walk. In the dark, participants sat in si- lence and listened to personal stories involving cancer from Alex Kruizenga ’18 and Sara Luzuriaga ’16. Around the Cage were Luminaria paper bags, each containing a glow stick. Each bag had the name of a participant’s loved one written on it to honor those who have fought cancer.
“I think the most powerful [event of Relay for Life] is the Luminaria Ceremony because after that takes place and you hear from, in this case it was students, share their personal experiences with cancer, everyone could feel and empathize with those students, and so it was just so powerful to see that first lap after the Luminaria Ceremony, especial- ly all those that were hugging each other and supporting each other and to see the community in that way,” said Kyle Kingston ’16, Co-Head of Campuses Against Cancer.
To help energize walkers during the event, the Yor- kies, Azure, and Sam Hawley ’16 sang and two duos, Lizzie McGonagle ’16 with Sara Lu- zuriaga ’16 and Alexa Goulas ’18 with Kiki Kozol ’18, each performed a dance number. The event also featured a pho- to booth, a variety of food, and a wall dedicated to signs that displayed reasons why participants were walking. The Yorkies performed “Kiss
from a Rose” by Seal and Haw- ley sang “Follow the Sun” by Xavier Rudd. Goulas and Kozol danced to “Medicine” by Daughter and McGonagle and Luzuriaga performed to Laby- rinth’s “Jealous.”
“We choreographed [our dance] to perform at this year’s Dance Open, and it was originally about the two of us pre- paring to say goodbye to each other. But it’s also a piece about letting go of something or someone you love, about ap- preciating the time you spent with someone and learning to move on without resenting the separation,” wrote Luzuriaga in an email to The Phillipian.
After the Luminaria Ceremony, Azure performed Andre Day’s “Rise Up” to encourage people to stay strong when it seems like everything in life is going wrong.
“It’s really about provid- ing comfort for those who are mourning or in pain, that no- body is ever alone. When we went up on stage, I could sense that people in the room really needed to hear those words in the moment,” said Sabrina Appleby ’17, member of Azure.
As of April 25, 34 teams raised 53,424 dollars to be donated directly to the American CancerSociety.
“To be honest, I am often amazed by PA students but on this night, I am truly inspired. For me, Relay is the essence of our school’s motto, ‘Non Sibi.’ We are all there together working and fighting and walking for a cure. I hope we all see that day and if so, we will know in some small way we were a part of the solution and saving lives,” wrote Joel in an email to The Phillipian.