by Alyson Chase ’13 –
Approximately 12,549,000 people in the United States are living with a cancer diagnosis. Many of these people have been through chemo, invasive treatments, surgeries, lost their hair, and have still lost their life. My grandmother was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer about two years ago. She fought this brutal cancer with everything she had, but lost just a few months later. The statistic doesn’t account for the people affected by cancer. This statistic doesn’t account for the tears, suffering, and pain that come along with cancer, for the family and friends of those affected. The worst part of my Grandmother’s diagnosis was the fact there was no treatment available that could save her life. If cancer is caught too late, sometimes there is no solution. Watching someone who you love more than anything suffer and ultimately die because of cancer is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. But I know that I am not alone. Millions of families each year have the same experience I did. Millions of people are diagnosed with cancers that don’t have treatments available or don’t have the funding to receive treatment.
This is where Relay For Life comes in. I may not have been able to control the outcome of my grandmother’s diagnosis, but I can help others who are going through the same thing. One of my favorite things about Pomfret School is Relay For Life. Whether it’s Relay Rejuvenation, soaker, Relay For Life at the Woodstock fairgrounds, or a simple dress down to raise money, every dollar counts. This past weekend, Relay had one of its biggest events and we raised almost one thousand dollars. It was great to see everyone take part in this event, whether they were in the waffle-eating contest, the 3 vs.3 basketball tournament, singing karaoke, putting coins in the penny jars, playing in the student vs. faculty basketball game, buying “pie a prefect” tickets, or watching Mr. Richards getting pied in the face. It was great to see the Pomfret community rally around such a great cause. At the end of the night, (about 1:30 AM), when everyone was exhausted from a fun-filled evening, a few of the members of Relay gathered to approximate how much money we had raised. From the penny wars, donations, and pie a prefect tickets we had raised almost one thousand dollars. At first this didn’t really seem like that much money, but when you think about one thousand dollars and the impact that could have on families struggling with cancer or the money funding a part of research to prevent cancer—it is truly all worth it.
There are approximately 283 high schools in Connecticut. If every high school’s Relay for Life club held an event like Relay Rejuvenation and raised 1,000 dollars for cancer, then in Connecticut alone we would have raised about 283,000 dollars for cancer. With more than 200 types of cancer, 12,549,000 people living with a cancer diagnosis, 3,400 people being diagnosed with cancer each day in the United States, and about 1,500 dying each day; we must take a stand. To date we have raised nearly 7,000 dollars, we all have the ability to make a change and stand up against cancer. Thank you Pomfret for joining me in taking a stand against cancer.