This past Saturday, 345 members of our community gathered in the Case Memorial Cage to participate in Relay for Life, a fundraising event that celebrates cancer survivors and remembers those that have lost their battles. Although Relay for Life, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, occurs internationally, Campuses Against Cancer brought this event to Andover to unite the community against this pervasive disease. In only its second year, Andover’s Relay for Life raised $69,845.01, not including BlueCard donations – a 50 percent increase from last year’s $46,382.07.
Just in the last two years, Relay for Life has become integral to Andover’s community. Students, faculty and staff from all aspects of Andover life have joined teams, beginning fundraising as early as five months in advance. There has been some friendly competition between the various teams, but this has not deterred from the true goal of the event – moving closer to finding a cure for cancer.
It is remarkable that Andover’s faculty, staff and students, who are always so preoccupied with keeping Andover’s many wheels turning, have gone out of their way to support Relay for Life. Members members of the community spent four hours walking around the track in the Cage – an exercise meant to illustrate that the participants are just as incessant and undeterred as cancer itself. Azure, Andover’s female a cappella group, and the Yorkies, their male counterpart, prepared songs and performed them during the event. Additionally, survivors bravely shared their cancer journeys, and before and during the event, participants created luminaria, paper bags illuminated by glowsticks, to line the track during the “Luminaria Ceremony.” The Luminaria Ceremony was marked by silence, as students grieved and supported each other in this incredibly emotional and personal ceremony.
Relay for Life was an incredible example of the Andover community banding together to support one another and charity. In addition to raising funds that will be directed toward cancer research and patient care, Relay for Life offered Andover students the opportunity to open themselves up and let themselves be vulnerable as they grieved losses and celebrated life.
In light of recent thoughts that Andover does not embody the true value of “Non Sibi,” it seems that students often neglect and underestimate the power of the student body. Relay for Life, however, exemplified the potential Andover students have to contribute to the greater world. Andover, and even the academic curriculum, promotes awareness of the world outside of the “Andover Bubble,” but we seldom see this idea translated into real life scenarios. We applaud Andover for its commitment to Relay for Life and its capacity for change, and we hope that it has inspired the Andover community to continue fighting for larger-world change.
Editor’s Note: Copy Editor Kyle Kingston ’16 is President of Campuses Against Cancer.
This Editorial represents the views of The Phillipian Editorial Board CXXXVIII, except for News Editor Roshan Benefo ’16.