HUGHSON — Hughson High School student leaders are gearing up for their first Relay for Life.
The 2012-13 leadership class has been preparing for four months for hosting the overnight community fund-raising walk in the fight against cancer.
Relay for Life is generally a 24-hour event in which teams walk to symbolize the fight people with cancer face. However, the Hughson Relay for Life will be a 12-hour overnight event to raise money for cancer research. This isthe first time the leadership class is directing this large community outreach event. The event is being held overnight because of the relay's motto: Cancer doesn't sleep, so neither will we.
The relay is scheduled from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. May 3-4 at the Hughson High School track.
"Cancer affects the lives of so many people, and most feel helpless against it. This is one way a community can come together to fight back," said event chairwoman Kayla Weststeyn, a senior.
Participants will celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost to the disease, and fight back for those who have been affected by cancer.
"Our goal is to raise $30,000 over the course of the event. We hope this money will help in the battle against the horrible disease of cancer," said Brad Borges, team development chairman.
Kayla and Brad, who is also a senior, are working on the event under the direction of student activities director Kaci Brazil.
Kayla knows firsthand about cancer; she lost her mother Suzanne Weststeyn in 2012.
"I don't want anyone to go through what my family has," she said. "I believe that someone will find a cure, and that's why I'm participating in Relay for Life.
"Relay for Life is a way for a community to unite against cancer. It will be an eye-opener to how many people have been affected by cancer. Most of all, Relay for Life will teach others to cherish moments with family members, to be compassionate for others, and that if we come together for a common goal, it can be accomplished."
Anyone can participate. A team can have eight to 24 members, and a person can have multiple teams. Every teammate must generate $100, and each team must have a fight-back message and have someone from its team walk the entire time.
So far, the leadership class has sold food at sporting events and by hosting "Bieber Fever," in which the chorus of Justin Bieber's "Baby" is played repeatedly during passing periods and break. Students paid money to make the music stop. The class raised more than $700.
Christian Brown, a senior and team captain, raised the most money in December by selling car wash tickets and by washing cars. He is fighting for his grandfather, a survivor of cancer.
Mark Borges is a freshman at Hughson High School and a member of The Bee's Teens in the Newsroom Program.