Relay for Life inspires Liberty

Bridget Ury, photography editor

The crowd gathers at the stage ready to hear the cancer story of the two guest speakers bravely willing to share their personal experiences. As the first speaker begins, a hush falls over the crowd, who are ready to hear the story. A woman gets up and shares her experience as her sister’s caregiver during her battle with cancer. A tearful speech is followed by another speaker. This time, it is a young man who has already experienced cancer three times. His experience moves the crowd. As sad as cancer is, the tone of the guest speakers was always hopeful.

That hope has inspired one Liberty team captain, sophomore Taylor Mulqueeney. She arrived at the event at 10 am and did not leave until 9:30 the next morning. Her team of sophomores, Geeks in Pink, has been doing Relay for the last three years. This year Mulqueeney was a part of the event leadership along with being a captain.

“I enjoy being involved in the different aspects of Relay because it allows me to inspire hope for a future without cancer’ Mulqueeney said.

Another Liberty team was comprised of Honor Society members with junior Christina Tuttle as team captain. Tuttle thought it was important that many young people were involved in the event which bring awareness to cancer.

“It is inspiring that there are so many high school students. Young people are here and they care about cancer research. It is not just adults,” Tuttle said.

At Relay for Life, the goal is to have at least one person from each team walking the track at all times to signify that cancer never sleeps and while fighting cancer, patients don’t get to take breaks. Throughout the event, there are also fun events that help keep people motivated, like a water balloon toss and a midnight movie.

One more team from  Liberty was the LHS Cancer Squad. Senior and team captain Belle Wong has been doing Relay for three years, and she had fifteen people on her team.

At night, the event takes a more serious note with the Luminaria ceremony. People at Relay dedicate bags to people who have had cancer or to those who have lost their life from cancer. Luminarias, which are paper bags that have been decorated, are placed around the edge of the track with candles inside so they light up the path. After guest speakers share, everyone silently walks around the track looking at the Luminarias.

“For me, it’s all about everyone coming together to raise money for cancer,” junior Alan Tran said. Tran, who is Key Club Vice President, helped organize the club’s involvement with Relay.

“It is great that it is not just raising money, but they also put on this huge event for everyone. I guess it is the community aspect as well,”