Relay fights the battle many face


by Vista Kalipa

Lights were turned down, there was absolute silence and everybody walked around the track with lit candles, as names of victims and survivors of cancer were read.

The Relay for Life is held each year to honor those who are lost to cancer also to honor those who survived it.

The official opening for this event took place, with a prayer, around 6 p.m., which was followed by a rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.” The event took place on Friday, April 11 from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m.

“The reason why the event goes over night is because we start [the battle] in darkness and hope that the cure will bring us into the light,” said senior and committee head Erik Jacobson.

For this year, the event has attracted approximately 45 teams who participated in all the major events of the night.

“The teams ranged from church groups such as the Lutheran Church to 4-H clubs and individuals,” said Ellen Glasgow, co-chair.

The success of the event relied solely on individuals, group participation and corporate companies who donated a lot to this event. Also the main support came from those who participated to honor and support someone they know directly.

For senior Gary Huynh, apart from being a member of SAE, his participation in this event was in honor of his uncle who passed away a year-and-a-half ago.

“I’m participating because cancer touches many lives and I know someone fighting the battle of cancer,” said Judy Hutton, walker in the Relay for Life. “I got here at about 4 p.m. to help out and now I’ve been walking for about six hours.”

Other participants in this relay were families who came out to support a family member who is battling with cancer.

For the Van Pattens, the cancer storm has hit their family three times and that has been the main reason for their participation. Telling the story with teary-eyes was Kim Van Patten who said, “My mother has had cancer three times in the space of eight years and that has been really tough to deal with. She’s here tonight with my father participating in tonight’s events.”

Not only did Van Patten bring her parents, she brought along her two children Jacob and Caitlyn. Jacob performed and entertained the crowd singing about five songs in honor of his grandmother and other cancer victims.

“I knew and anticipated that tonight was going to be quite sentimental and so I brought a box of Kleenex [tissues],” said Glasgow.

Apart from the walk, there were other events taking place during the night. There was a selling of luminary bags in honor of victims and also live bands entertained the crowd. Two of these performances were provided by Simpson, sophomore Greg Dolmage and Garret Abel with their band “The Offering.”

The event did not only turn out to be sentimental, but it also proved to be a success.

The head committee was very pleased to announce that they raised more than $38, 000 in funds, which is higher than what they raised in last year’s event.

“We are just very pleased and we’d like to thank everybody for their participation,” said co-chair Caerry McKasson. “It is truly hard to pinpoint one person. This couldn’t have been done without the support that everybody provided.”

“We’d like to get a lot more support next year and have more teams participating,” said Jacobson.

As the morning hours approached, the night’s festivities were coming to the end. The event ended with a $3 per person breakfast, which was open to everyone and the actual closing ceremony started from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.

“I’d just like to, especially, thank everybody in the committee for putting their hearts into the success of this event,” said Glasgow.