This past Thursday, Andover’s student-led chapter of Relay for Life hosted a fundraiser in Paresky Commons, the first of many events in anticipation of the final relay event. Relay for Life, an international movement coordinated by the American Cancer Society (ACS), is a walkathon dedicated to spreading awareness and raising funds in the fight against cancer.
The final relay will take place on April 22 and last for three hours, according to Alvin Liu ’24, the President of Andover’s Relay for Life chapter. Liu’s vision for the relay is to spread awareness through acts of solidarity.
“April 22 itself is a walk so you just come whenever you want in those three hours, walk a few laps, stay a little longer if you want. There’ll be bands performing hopefully, the walk is [meant] to signify the journey that people with cancer actually have to go through, so you’re expected to walk for quite a bit,” said Liu.
Lisa Joel, Instructor and Director of Athletics and faculty advisor for Andover’s Relay for Life chapter since 2014, expressed her aspirations for the Andover community’s involvement in this nationwide event. She hopes that this event will bring members from across the various Andover communities together in support of the event.
“This is a true community event, whether you’re a student, you’re a faculty member, a staff member, [or] a parent. So my hope is that the community can come together around the fight against cancer, which I think every single one of us probably has some affiliation somewhere in our lives, and if not yet, unfortunately, probably at some point. So it seems to me really worthwhile,” said Joel in a previous interview with The Phillipian.
Joel also touched on her role as faculty advisor in supporting the mission of Relay for Life. According to Joel, her role as faculty advisor is mainly supporting the students, who lead the majority of the project.
“I’m just there to provide support and guidance. I know what it’s been in terms of what the event itself looks like. I understand the power of it. I understand the impact it has to bring communities together in a unique way here. This event, as I’ve said before, uniquely touches every single person in our community. Students, faculty, staff, parents, and there are very few things that I would say [brings] all of those elements together.” said Joel.
Alongside Liu, other students have also become involved in the coordination of the event. Jacob Kaiser ’24, the Vice President of Andover’s Relay for Life chapter, shared what motivated him to participate in the chapter and coordinate the event. According to Kaiser, he felt that managing the event was the best way he could help participate in the fight against cancer.
“My family has been affected by cancer and a lot of people’s families have been affected by cancer. I think it’s a fight in which we’re all obligated to pitch in in some way. And so sometimes you can donate, sometimes you can attend an event and sometimes you can help manage that. And I just jumped on the opportunity because I thought that that was a good way to pitch in.” said Kaiser.
Kaiser spoke on the fundraising efforts and the role of sports teams in them. As explained in a previous interview with The Phillipian, Andover athletics would be dedicating four “at home” games to fundraising for the event, a move Kaiser says is expected to bring in significant funds.
“Just so far, just from the few events that we had, and links that we’ve sent out to parents and teachers across campus, we currently have around $2,200 total. However, I feel like we will have a lot more from the girl’s varsity hockey [game with] that raffle and bake sale that they had during their game. We haven’t gotten the money from that yet, and that’s estimated to be about $7,000 or so. So we’re closing in at around $9,000 [to] $10,000.” said Kaiser.
Liu went on to explain how while the relay itself is the major event, smaller fundraisers and events like the one on Thursday would be taking place leading up to the relay itself.
“In the months beforehand, we’ll be doing fundraisers, as [the one] you saw last Thursday in Commons we had, that was a pretty big one. That was the first main one that we’re doing, but we’re going to have a few more of those events throughout the month leading up to April 22,” said Liu.
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