Relay for Life: Hope and Community

Community is a sense of being a part of something larger than you, being surrounded by individuals with passion for change. I participate in Relay for Life for the sense of community that grows in such a short period of time. We become linked by our connections to cancer as we join to fight against it.

On March 10th, 45 Olin students participated in the Wellesley-MIT Relay for Life, and the strong sense of community was most definitely present.

As the luminaria ceremony began, we sat in the middle of an indoor running track surrounded by hundreds of other college students from Wellesley, MIT, and Simmons. Each of us held a single un-cracked glow stick.

An inspirational speech from a survivor of thyroid cancer, a senior at Wellesley College, left us thinking about the journey endured by so many with cancer.

The room went pitch black, and silence spread like wildfire. The event chairs, two students from MIT, gave careful instructions as on how to proceed.

“Please crack your glow stick when you hear the person you are honoring.”

“If you are here honoring your mother or father, please crack your stick and step on to the track.” They proceeded through the list.

“If you are here honoring your brother or sister, please crack your stick and step on to the track.” As each statement was read, the only sound heard was a sea of cracks, sounds representing more than a glow.

These glow sticks brought everyone together, their sound echoing like a whip, hitting everyone with the emotions, the pain, the pieces of everything endured by this group of Relayers.

As we walked a lap in silence, I thought to myself, “This is what it’s all about.” We unite against a disease that divides many, and puts us on emotional, mental, and physical rollercoasters.

Some parts of the night are intense, such as the luminaria ceremony [described above] and the survivor lap which opens the event. These are the reasons we fight together: to show we are one against this disease.
At the end of the lap, everyone dropped their glow sticks into one large ‘luminaria’ bag. This symbolized our togetherness. The event may be just a few short hours, but the community lasts much longer.

We are united by our desire to change the way cancer affects lives. Together, we can create a world with less cancer and more birthdays.

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