Cancer has been a devastating enemy for a lot of people. There are many who have it and many more who are affected by it. From a family member to a significant other, anyone has a chance of having cancer. Nearly 1.8 million people have been diagnosed with cancer in 2020 so far, which is about 0.54 percent of Americans suffer from these conditions. This potentially deadly condition has types that have no cure, while there are treatments to help, they don’t always work and they are very harsh on the body. There are some cancers with cures, but not all of them have one yet. The American Cancer Society has been doing its part to raise all they can for the fight against cancer. They raised well over 1 billion dollars a year overall to go toward fundraisers, events, and donations to help patients. One way the American Cancer Society raises money for cancer is through Relay For Life. This event is held at many places but Chatfield Senior High School is where most south Jeffco schools go to participate in this event (only Chatfield, Dakota, and Conifer). Last year alone, Chatfield’s Relay for Life event raised over $65,000.
Relay is a huge event at Chatfield, people work for months on end to create teams and raise money for this all-night walk. This event is run by Mrs. Gunkel, a Spanish and Broadcasting teacher, and she works all year to make this event even better than the previous year. She can’t do this task alone of course which is why she has help from a hand-selected planning committee. While Relay is very tiring because of the lack of sleep, it is well worth the effort to help support those who need it most.
This year do to COVID-19, Relay For Life was canceled by the American Cancer Society. They did this to ensure that participants and survivors that would have attended this event would be safer and at a lower risk of getting this virus. They did do this to keep everyone safe, but this news has many people very devastated. Mrs. Hitchens, assistant principle at Chatfield, is among the many people who are very sad about this news. Not only does she participate in the Relay, but she is also a survivor herself. Relay is not just a fundraiser to help patients, it is also an experience of a lifetime to allow people to bond and connect over a common issue. When asked, “How does Relay make you feel when you witness and are involved in the event, what emotions does it bring out in you?” Mrs. Hitchens expressed that she felt “…so many emotions for me during the event especially now that I am a survivor. I feel pride in our students and community for how hard they work to make the event happen I feel the love from so many people during the event, I feel supported as a survivor, I feel sad for those that have lost loved ones and I feel optimistic about the difference we can make by hosting a Relay event” (Hitchens 04/17/2020). This event not only means a lot to the patients and survivors but also to the students who participate in it as well. Adam Busack, Clara Coffey, and Kassidi Thompson are members of the planning committee that play a big role in helping plan this huge event. When asked “What does Relay mean to you?” Clara Coffey responded that “Relay for me has been a way to connect and support our community. Cancer affects everybody in one way or another and so for me, Relay is a way to fight back against it” (Coffey 04/17/2020). These students on the planning committee not only plan Relay to make it enjoyable for everyone else, but they also do it because it is something close to their hearts. Another student at Chatfield, Kassidi Thompson, is a leader of the planning committee as well. Her feelings toward Relay being canceled is that she is “…very sad that Relay was canceled but I obviously understand the current situation, and I hope that Jeffco Relay can come back next year stronger than ever” (Thompson 04/17/2020). Another member of the planning committee asked: “Do you have any advice for Chatfield regarding Relay?” Adam Busack responded that Chatfield should “…start raising money for next year already because ACS still needs our donations” (Busack 04/17/2020). These people have been apart of Relay and have been touched by the amazing things that happen during this event, not only is this a walk to help raise money, but it is the heart and soul of these students.