F-M to host fifth Relay for Life on April 14

Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to get more involved in community or school events? Participate in charity work? Or, perhaps, to add more exercise to your daily routine?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then F-M has an inspiring and meaningful event for you and your whole family (and friends!). F-M’s Relay for Life walk will take place Saturday, April 14, from noon to midnight at F-M High School.

This will be F-M’s fifth year hosting a Relay for Life walk, which is the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Through F-M’s Relay for Life events, they’ve been able to donate nearly $250,000 toward cancer research. Organizers have set between $65,000 and $70,000 as this year’s goal.

“The idea for Relay came about in a Science Honor Society meeting five years ago when a group of students wanted to try something new,” said Ben Gnacik, an F-M High School science teacher. “After exploring a number of options, we decided that a large-scale event for the American Cancer Society would be our best option because so many of us are somehow touched by cancer. Almost immediately we began putting together our first F-M Relay for Life with a team of four students. It’s incredible to see how the original small group has grown over five years into a team of more than 30 students working to make this year’s event just as successful as past years.”

During the event, Relay for Life team members will take turns walking around the F-M High School track from noon to midnight. Each team will have at least one member on the track at all times to signify that cancer never sleeps.

“Relay for Life is an event that encourages and fosters strong relationships and bonds, even in the face of hardship,” said F-M High School student Shellie Downes, one of the event coordinators. “Along with raising awareness about cancer, Relay participants help raise funding for cancer research. It’s empowering to know that we can help make a difference in a cancer patient’s life and treatment.”

Each Relay for Life team also sets up a themed campsite at the event and continues their fundraising efforts by collecting donations for food, goods, games, and activities. This money will count towards their overall team fundraising goal.

After sunset, luminaries are lit to remember those who lost their lives to cancer, celebrate those who are survivors, and show those affected by cancer that they are not alone. F-M’s luminaria ceremony will be at 8 p.m. during the event on April 14.

“The luminaria ceremony I participated in was extremely unifying and solemn,” said F-M High School student Brittney Cross, another of the F-M event organizers. “Toward the end of the event it helped remind me that the whole day was leading up to something much more universal than I had originally felt.”