EDSS students up all night to do their part in battle against cancer
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EDSS students up all night to do their part in battle against cancer

Cancer never sleeps. This notion of the disease is what led the students at EDSS to host the fourth annual Relay for Life at the Woolwich Memorial Centre in Elmira May 11. Beginning at 7 p.m. and running through until 7 a.m. hundreds of students walked the running track to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society.

This year the school had 62 teams sign up for the 12-hour event, with each team donating a minimum of $1,000 for the cause. The school set a goal of raising $75,000.

“We believe as Lancers we will see our school step up to the plate as they usually do when we have this event. At our last event two years ago we raised over $78,000 so we know we can do it again this year,” said Jocelyn Lubert, co-chair of the event.

The night began with the opening ceremonies followed by a survivor’s victory lap, where the school invited cancer survivors to walk around the track at the WMC leading all the students. The event also included a survivor’s reception where the students thanked them for attending while participating in few activities with them.

“After the victory lap participants and students keep walking around the track throughout the night. The goal is to have at least one person from each team always walking around the track,” said co-chair Holly Boyne.

During breaks from walking students were invited into the Woolwich Memorial Centre to play games inside the Dan Snyder Arena. Many of the students took part playing video games, foosball, cards, and making their way through obstacle courses. Outside in a tent a DJ spun tunes for dancers and in the early morning the tent became a make shift movie theatre.

Around 10 p.m. the students lit their luminaries and placed them around the track. Luminaries are fire resistant covers placed over a candle. People purchase a luminary to write an inspirational message on them for a loved one to commemorate and celebrate those who have fought cancer.

“It is usually the most emotional part of the night,” said Boyne.

During the luminary ceremony a photo slide show was projected of family members who have or are currently fighting cancer.

The closing ceremonies were held between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m.

“Relay for Life does not have to be an end we can all continue to fight against cancer,” said Lubert.

Chairing the event is quite an undertaking for the two high school students who have been tirelessly working on the project since January.

“At the last event it really moved me and I really loved it,” said Boyne. “I never expected that much could come from one night over 12 hours. I really wanted to recreate that experience again and hopefully other people will be able to experience it the same way.”

“It is a really special event and I wanted to step up and take that leadership role and help others have the same experience,” said Lubert.

“There is just something about walking with so many people around the track late at night when everything is quite. The track really mimics the track that someone with cancer is on. At first you are all pumped up saying I can do this, I can fight this, but then in the middle of the night you are tired and exhausted and you just want it to end but you know that morning is coming and that it will end and you made it to the other side,” said Boyne. “It is really empowering and really amazing.”

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