This year, the Blair community again raised money to help the American Cancer Society conquer cancer at the School’s biennial Relay for Life. The event began on the track at Hampshire Field at 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 22, and continued under the lights until 2 a.m. on Sunday, April 23. Laps celebrating cancer survivors and caregivers kicked off the Relay, after which members of 24 student, faculty and staff teams continuously walked the track until the early-morning closing ceremony.
“Relay for Life resonates with many people, since nearly everyone has a friend, colleague or family member who has been affected by cancer,” said English teacher Kaye Evans, who organized the event with her fellow Blair community service coordinator, history teacher Joanne Brandwood. “Each Relay we’ve held at Blair has drawn the community together in a special way and raised awareness of the fact that we’re all in the fight against cancer together.”
Madison Peterson ’17 and Jason Newman ’17 helped Mrs. Evans and Mrs. Brandwood plan and run this year’s Relay for Life, and both student leaders signed on because their families have been impacted by cancer. “Relay for Life has given me the perfect opportunity to advocate for a cause I am passionate about,” said Madison. “The event itself was a lot of work, but our team is dedicated and pushing for success. Students worked hard to build teams, spread the word and fundraise like there’s no tomorrow!”
Jason’s father is a cancer survivor and his mother lost her battle with the disease. He founded Blair’s cancer awareness club and will share his story and his passion for fighting cancer at the Relay. In the days leading up to the event, he continued to promote Relay for Life, fundraised and helped with all the behind-the-scenes logistics. “Relay for Life is so important because, at the very least, it gives us one night to just think about cancer,” he said. “It really shows us how lucky we are and how good we have it.”
In addition to raising funds for the American Cancer Society, Relay participants enjoyed “themed” laps, DJ-provided music, games on the turf field, refreshments, a midnight swim and several other surprises. Mrs. Evans noted that one of the most meaningful moments of Relay for Life is always the 10 p.m. luminaria ceremony, during which the field lights are darkened and walkers take several silent laps, lit only by candlelight from the luminaria that honor loved ones who have battled cancer.
“Relay for Life is an event our students will see in their communities long after they graduate,” said Mrs. Brandwood. “Kids have a blast when they participate here at Blair—I hope the experience galvanizes their continued participation in this worthwhile cause for many years to come.”