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Volunteers support the fight against cancer

Walnut volunteers participated in the annual Relay for Life of East San Gabriel Valley fundraiser Saturday, Sept. 21 at Suzanne Middle School.

The full-day event, organized by American Cancer Society (ACS), spread awareness for cancer patients and shared survivor success stories. Student-run clubs, such as National Honor Society (NHS), Key Club and American Red Cross, also aided in running event booths and activities. These local clubs raised $2,658 to support the event’s central cause of fighting cancer.

“I loved raising money through Key Club for this event because it’s not something that we normally do,” Key Club cabinet member junior Jianhao Cui said. “In Key Club, we mainly focus on caring for children or the homeless, so the issue of cancer treatment is something new for us. It’s good to diversify, especially in prominent causes such as this one, and I’m really glad that I was able to experience how eye-opening different movements can be.”

Students registered participants and facilitated the survivor and caregiver walks around the field while other volunteers continued the relay in subsequent laps. American Red Cross members also ran a first aid booth for attendees. In addition to guest speakers, the event included performances from local clubs including Martial Arts Club. Shops also sold homemade goods such as apparel and paintings and contributed their proceeds toward ACS’s fight against cancer.

“It was really rewarding to see all of the survivors and caregivers in front of the crowd and hearing their stories of how the Relay for Life community has supported them,” ACS president senior Emily Chan said. “Seeing the faces of the people that benefited from our year’s worth of work and donations instead of just words on paper was heartwarming. I was also incredibly humbled to be able to see the community that we brought together.”

The event culminated in the Luminaria ceremony, a tradition in which volunteers design a lantern tribute for attendees who wish to dedicate a message toward a loved one who may have died from, is currently battling or survived a life-threatening illness.

“My favorite part of volunteering at Relay for Life today would definitely have to be designing the paper bags for other people in honor of cancer because I enjoy using my creativity to benefit others, and this was a meaningful way to give back,” NHS historian junior Brianna Nguyen said.

By Ashley Liang, Design and Media editor-in-chief
Photo by Isaac Le