Relay for Life of Jaguar Nation raises over $62,000 for the American Cancer Society

Hosting their annual event, Relay for Life of Jaguar Nation raised over $62,000 Saturday, April 24

Allison Seck, JAG copy editor

Hosted outside at the football and soccer stadiums due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Relay for Life of Jaguar Nation raised over $62,000 for the American Cancer Society Saturday, April 24. 

According to the ACS, the event was the largest such fundraiser held in the United States this year.

The Mill Valley High School Relay for Life Jaguar Nation committee helped raise over $62,000 for the American Cancer Society through its fundraising efforts this year,” a statement from the ACS said. “This total currently ranks them the #1 youth event in the nation in money raised, with $14,000 more than any other high school event in the nation.”

Originally scheduled for Friday, April 16 as a full 12-hour event, inclement weather and COVID-19 protocols forced the Relay for Life committee to push the event a week later and end it at 12:30 a.m rather than 6:00 a.m. 

According to head chair and senior Hannah Evans, planning an event around COVID-19 protocols proved to be difficult. 

“COVID-19 protocols were tough to plan around. Every single thing that we planned had to be COVID-19 proofed,” Evans said. “We had to create plans to allow for social distancing and little to no contact between spectators and participants. We also had to follow USD 232 and American Cancer Society guidelines to be able to have an in-person event.” 

Relay for Life sponsor Cory Wurtz thought Relay for Life was a joint effort between both the participants and the community.  

“Relay is important to me because it is important to our students, parents, and community,” Wurtz said. “This is a joint venture of our entire Jaguar Nation community to come together and fight against a disease that has touched so many people. It is wonderful to see so many donating their time, energy, and money for each other.”

Evans believed that the date change turned out to be a good decision, despite some teams having to drop out. 

“The day before our original date we decided that the weather wouldn’t have been good for an outdoor event and we weren’t approved for going indoors as a backup plan. Of course with a new event date we had teams drop out, committee members unable to come, and most likely some spectators,” Evans said. “However, the amazing weather from yesterday was much better for the success of our event than we would have had last Friday. Everything else was pretty much smooth sailing since we already had a plan, we just had to make a few tweaks.” 

Although he wishes he had participated in the event pre-COVID-19 pandemic, Junior Alexis Shults enjoyed her first experience at Relay for Life. 

“[Relay for Life] is a great high school experience,” Shults said. “There are so many events that you can do throughout the night like Zumba and yard games. This was my first year doing Relay for Life, but I wish I had participated in it in the past.” 

According to Wurtz, the Relay for Life committee had a goal to make Relay as fun as possible, as they were unable to host the event last year. 

“Our goal this year was to raise as much money and more so interest in the event again. We didn’t get to have an event in 2020 so we knew that half of our student population had never attended a relay,” Wurtz said. “We wanted to make sure everyone had the opportunity to take part in an in-person event this year and that was our main goal. Any fundraising that we do is always beneficial. All of the money raised goes to American Cancer Society and pediatric cancer research.” 

Enjoying the ability to see students come together for a good cause, Shults thought the Luminaria ceremony paid a nice tribute to those battling cancer. 

“My favorite part of Relay for Life was watching people come together during COVID-19 and really support a good cause,” Shults said. “The Luminaria was a cool experience because I have a family member that was diagnosed with cancer recently, so it gave me hope.”

Some students, participated in Relay for Life to honor loved ones, much like Evans who participated because both her grandparents had cancer. 

“Relay [for Life] is important to me because both my Grandma and Grammy had cancer,” Evans said. “Relay for Life helped me feel like I’m really making a difference for them in the fight against cancer.” 

Moving to another state this summer, Shults felt grateful that she was able to participate in something bigger than herself. 

“It is my last year at Mill Valley because I am moving out of state this summer,” Shults said. “I saw it as an opportunity to help others, serve my community and hang out with my friends.”

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