Nashoba Community Members are Relaying for a Cause


joHanna Pastorkovich, Contributor

For the past few years, Nashoba has held a spring Relay for Life with all proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society.  Each year, 5,200 community Relay For Life events are held around the country to support individuals who are battling cancer and to celebrate the lives of all who have been affected.  Relay for Life is the world’s largest support group for survivors and their caregivers.

The American Cancer society uses the money to support cancer research in hopes to find a cure and therapies to improve quality of life and many other organizations to support those fighting cancer. Hope Lodge provides a free and comfortable place for patients and caregivers to stay without the financial worries; Road to Recovery matches patients with volunteer drivers so patients can always make it to where they need to be; and Look Good… Feel Better is a free service that teaches women techniques to improve self-image during treatments.

 Relay for life began May 1985 with one man, Dr. Gordy Klatt, who for 24 hours walked and ran around a track in Tacoma, Washington to help the American Cancer Society.  With this one walk he raised $27,000.  The following year, 340 additional people joined him in this overnight event, and it has since been growing by the thousands each year.

 This year, the event is taking place Saturday, May 17th during which teams of people will camp around the track for twenty-four hours with at least one member walking at any given time.  Each year, officials coordinate food, games, and activities as a source of entertainment for the walkers.

According to the American Cancer Society, one of the most beloved aspects of the Relay is a “The Luminaria Ceremony. [It] takes place after dark, so we can remember people we have lost to cancer, honor people who have fought cancer in the past, and support those whose fight continues.” The relay also has a survivor’s lap in which everyone leaves the track to allow a lap for all individuals who have beaten the disease.

Many members of the Nashoba high school populations hold the relay very near and dear to their hearts, especially two seniors, Nyshidha Gurijala and Chandler Coggins. They have been co-captains of a relay team for the past four years.

Although they can’t recall how their relay careers began, Nyshidha claims they’ve continued participation because, “It’s a really good cause and it’s always a ton of fun.” Gurijala also stated, “It’s really important to give back to the community, and the ceremonies like the Luminaria walk are so amazing to be a part of.”

This year they’ve decided to name their team “carpe noctem”  which means “seize the night.”  So far, their team has raised $590 for the relay.  “We’re having a team bake sale after Easter at a church to raise money,” two-year team member, Taylor Brady said. “We also ask family members, co-workers, and businesses for donations; most people are more than willing to help out this great cause.”

Anyone is welcome to participate in the Relay on May 17th.  All donations are highly encouraged and appreciated. Please help others like Nyshidha and Chandler in their efforts to save the lives of millions who suffer daily because of cancer.

Image courtesy of American Cancer Society