Cancer never sleeps, not even during quarantine (Relay for Life)


By Melia Movsesian and Monet Nadimyan

Every fall, for the past 16 years, hundreds of students in the Hoover community have participated in Relay for Life, an overnight fundraising event at Hoover High School, sponsored by the American Cancer Society Youth (ACSY) club to raise money for cancer research. This year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there will be several changes to the event.

Normally taking place on the Hoover campus, Relay for Life will be held virtually from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. on November 13th. The virtual platform has yet to be decided; whether it will be a zoom video chat or a webinar through another platform. However, the famous Relay motto, “cancer never sleeps, neither do we,” still stands as students are required to be awake and participating in the different virtual activities through midnight.

Typically, Relay for Life collaborates with the annual Stars Shooting for Hope Celebrity Basketball Game to raise donations for cancer research and cancer patients. Last year, over $10,000 in donations were collected by purchasing tickets to both these charity events. Relay for Life tickets cost $40 and the basketball game tickets cost $5, but this year there will be no celebrity basketball game, and the virtual Relay will be free or cost much less to attend.

“It’s upsetting to see the Celebrity Basketball Game get canceled, because it has been a huge tradition at Hoover for years. It’s exciting to see students from Mark Keppel, Toll, and Hoover come together for a great cause,” said Maria Akhverdyan, Hoover High School’s ASB president.

Although virtual fundraising opportunities are more limited, the ACSY board is committed to finding new methods to raise money.

“It’s important because it helps fund facilities and patient care that wouldn’t be funded otherwise,” said Kari Vargas, the ACSY club advisor and Hoover English teacher.

The ACSY board plans to organize a fundraising competition amongst participants in order to raise money, as well as selling merchandise to make a profit and finding new sponsors.

Regardless of the fundraising obstacles, ACSY has been planning many virtual activities around its 2020 theme, TikTok. The ACSY club will be creating a TikTok account for users to share their videos on. The virtual Relay for Life will also include the previous participants’ favorite tradition, the Luminaria, where students and staff gather together and honor those touched by cancer.

“The ACSY board and I have been working hard to make this year’s Relay for Life as memorable and rewarding virtually as it would be in person,” Catherine Grigorian, president of ACSY, said.