by Lauren D'Amico
Every year over 4 million people in more than 20 countries raise funds and awareness for Relay for Life, a foundation dedicated to cancer research. This year, teens from WHS and other local schools are joining in, ready to make a difference and support one of their own.
This past summer, senior Jess Bebel was diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer of the blood cells, bringing this cause very close to home and inspiring locals to form a new Relay for Life team in her name.
This year, the team will be Co-Directed by Max Cohen and Ariana Donaldson, friends of Bebel.
Said Cohen, a student at Jonathan Dayton High School in Springfield: “When Jess told me about her diagnosis, I knew I had to be there for her, when she needed it most. From there, an idea was sparked and we reached out to all our camp friends and asked them if they wanted to make a team with us.”
According to cancer.org, Relay for Life was established to “celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease.”
The organization’s most prominent event is an overnight community fundraising walk, in which team members camp out and take turns walking around a track, according to relay.acsevents.org.
Raising over $10,000, the team has already surpassed its initial fundraising goal, and now plans to continue to raise money for the much needed cause. The team raises money in a multitude of different ways and spreads awareness about the event and their cause through social media platforms such as Facebook.
Katie Crowley, WHS senior and team member, said: "I encourage everyone within our community to set aside time to participate in an organization like Relay for Life. It has brought me more humility and compassion than any classroom could even begin to teach me and for that I am forever grateful.”