The Mac community draws together to remember, celebrate, and fight back against cancer.
I only get to see my best friend a couple times a year, and during his visits I usually put my other responsibilities on hold. But his most recent visit fell on the same weekend of Macalester’s fourth annual Relay For Life, an event I have been working with Colleges Against Cancer to organize since September.
This event, I realized, was one of the few conflicts that I would allow to replace our usual milkshake-and-taco adventures.
And my sacrifice was well worth it: This year, Macalester’s Relay For Life, held March 23-24, raised more than $18,000 for cancer education, research, and treatment. And having my best friend along gave me a rare chance to get an outsider’s perspective on our small school’s dedication to an important cause.
This year, Macalester’s Relay For Life, held March 23-24, raised more than $18,000 for cancer education, research, and treatment.
Relay For Life is a global fundraising event hosted by the American Cancer Society that provides a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, to remember those who have lost their battles, and to fight back against the disease.
As 250 members of the Macalester community—and my best friend from California—gathered in the Field House last week to walk for 12 hours amidst a sea of luminaria (in simulation of the sleeplessness forced upon cancer victims), I saw in our school a determination for victory bound by a sense of collaboration that really does define Macalester. From performances by nearly a dozen school bands, dance ensembles, and a capella groups to cheese puff tosses and frozen T-shirt contests, everywhere I turned in the Leonard Center that night I saw people working together for a common purpose.
Relay for Life is typically marked by three ceremonies that relate to the event’s motto, “Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back.” Macalester celebrated with five cancer survivors leading the opening lap, remembered with a silent walk around a track lit by luminaria, and fought back by listening to the inspiring words of survivors.
Macalester is a small school, so it’s hard for us to beat our larger peers when it comes to numbers involved or dollars raised. But Relay isn’t a competition against peers; instead, it’s a fight against disease. This fight is why so many people around the world choose to Relay, and why I volunteered my time—and my best friend—to this year’s event.