Relay for Life in the battle against cancer

One of three people, sometime in their lives, will be struck by an ultimate enemy. It lurks in every country, state, and town as a foe that is still undefeated. Every person on this planet will inevitably be affected by it and its threat to human life. This nemesis comes in many forms, each with its own deadly attack. However, there is a heroic organization that, with the help of many volunteers, fights day and night to defeat this villain. The organization is called the American Cancer Society. The American Cancer Society created an event named Relay for Life, an event where people walk around a track all night to represent the nonstop war to defeat cancer. Relay for Life is opened to all those who wish to support cancer research and to ultimately put an end to the deadly disease. The participants include cancer survivors, caregivers, family members, and even a few Ames High students. "I liked seeing all of the people who were supporting it [Relay for Life]," junior Delaney Kolb said. "My uncle died from some complications due to cancer a few years ago, and I wanted to help because cancer affects so many people." The American Cancer Society has been trying since 1913 to "fight back" against cancer and eventually make cancer a topic of the past. Since 1946, the organization has invested 3.3 billion dollars in cancer research. It holds events such as Relay for Life in order to raise funds and public awareness. Relays are held in 4,900 communities with over 3.5 million people participating annually. In Ames, the event is held at the Leid Recreation Athletic Center. The most recent Relay in Ames, happening on March 27th, had 1,820 participants who raised a total of $102,000. "Cancer affects so many people." junior Amanda Evans said. "I just wanted to be a part of trying to stop it." While cancer can be a morbid topic, Relay for Life emphasizes hope and progress. The relay begins with a lap dedicated solely to survivors and their triumph against cancer. The night continues with entertainment such as live bands, dance crews, games and activities, inflatables, and much more. The climax of the night is a luminary ceremony where family members and friends join together to celebrate the lives of those who lost the battle against cancer. Every luminary is decorated in dedication to a loved one. "There were all these people sitting on the ground looking at these white bags [luminaries]." Evans described. "It made me think that I could be one of those white bags someday." The lights dim as survivors, family members, friends, and supporters walk around the track. With each step, a participant passes a luminary dedicated to someone who is no longer on this Earth. Their lives, not deaths, are what the participants are walking around the track for. Relay for Life is much more than mourning the deaths of those who have died of cancer. The Relay is a symbol to the dead that society has not forgotten them or the disease that took their lives. It is also a symbol to all those who have been affected by cancer that the fight is not over and that one day, the world will be cancer-free.