Local students relay for those affected by cancer

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Staples and Weston High School students will be helping the fight against cancer on May 7 at Relay For Life on the Staples track from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. The event, according to student organizers, is a fun way to have a big impact on those affected by cancer.

Students are especially looking forward to this year’s event, because it is the first time Relay For Life is being held at Staples after being held at Weston High School for the previous five years.

“It’s a great opportunity for the Westport community to be involved with an event that has never previously been associated with Staples,” Emily Rogers ’16, a member of the event planning committee, said. “Cancer has touched the Staples community in so many ways, so I think it’s incredible that Staples has the opportunity to have an impact together.”

For the students who organize and participate in the event, it is more than just an afternoon of fun.

“I think it’s really important to understand that while Relay is a lot of fun, it should still serve as a reminder—especially as people walk around the track—that cancer never sleeps,” Sofia Bara ’18, a student at Weston High School said. “Our world goes beyond our classrooms, our homes, and our towns so even if you haven’t been impacted directly by this disease, there are still millions of people suffering and undergoing arduous treatment as they fight with all that they have left to survive.”

In previous years, at Weston Relay For Life, it was an overnight event.  However, this year, the event will end at 8 p.m.

“There are restrictions and rules we need to respectfully follow due to sound and lighting, which give us a maximum 6 hour time frame for the event, with an end time of 8 p.m.,” Debra Pinals, a leader of the Event Planning Committee, said.

Relay is especially important to students like Jason Pinals ’18 who personally understand the impact cancer has on society and the power an event like Relay For Life can have.

“I Relay for my Grandma Susie,” Pinals said, a student at Weston High School. “Relay For Life event is a life-changing experience that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost and fight back against the disease.”

As a member of the event planning committee, Pinals has helped to plan many of the night’s events.

“Teams set up and decorate campsites, host onsite fundraisers, and participants take turns walking the track for the fight against cancer. Local cancer survivors begin the Relay with a Survivors’ Celebration Lap,” Pinals said.

Participants at the event will also have the opportunity to take part in many side activities, including hamster ball races, Zumba, face painting and live music. Food will be provided by popular local food trucks such as Melt Mobile and College Creamery.

In addition to these activities, students will also hear first hand accounts from those affected by cancer.

Proceeds raised by teams will benefit The American Cancer Society, the largest voluntary health society in the United States, providing programs and services to those affected by cancer.  As of April 28, teams have already raised close to $18,000.

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