Hills Students Relay for Life


Relay for Life participants walk in the survivor/caregiver lap. (Photo by Elisha Stenger)

Aaliyah Khan and Sofia Senesie

Warren Hills’ chapter of National Honor Society (NHS) kicked off its annual Relay for Life fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, commemorating and raising money for those diagnosed with cancer, as well as cancer research, in the middle of May.

The event started off with an opening ceremony, with speeches given by NHS President Jason Teets and an emotional speech given by two Warren Hills alumni whose sister was affected by cancer.

After the opening ceremony, cancer survivors and caregivers were honored for their strength and courage while walking around the track, as teams cheered them on.

“I thought the survivor lap was a great way to show recognition of the survivors,” said senior Jehane Ali. “I’m so honored I got to be a part of it and run it with my parents.”

Following the survivor/caregiver and kickoff laps, participants were able to engage in activities such as kickball, tug of war, and dedicated laps such as the school spirit and purple laps.

           “There was a lot of scheduled activities. I loved Zumba. It was really fun and got everyone pumped and energetic,” said sophomore Emma Sloan. “I also enjoyed the yoga, too.”

Teams participating included The Art of Healing, commemorating drama teacher Clifford Platt; KimHillStrong, celebrating the life of Warren Hills alumnus Kim Hill; and school-related teams, such as the National Honor Society Team and Class of 2019.

“Our beautiful sister Kim’s life was cut short on January 30th, 2019 at the young age of 34 from Triple Negative Breast Cancer,” stated Team KimHillStrong on their team page. “Our lives have forever been changed and the void we have in our hearts can never be replaced. Kim was a true warrior and touched so many lives. Our only hope now is that one day they will find a cure for this devastating disease.”

A highlight of the  day’s events was the luminaria ceremony, where people affected by cancer were represented by luminarias that spelled out the word “HOPE” on a hill.

For junior Julia Bertoldi, the luminaria event held particular significance.

“Relay for Life was not only a special day for me, but for my mom. She has been cancer-free for six years. I could not be more proud of her,” she said. “Relay was her first survivor experience. She was so happy to be there, so full of light. The luminaria to me represented the strength and brightness she possesses everyday.” 

The event was brought to an end when everyone gathered around the podium for some closing remarks and to hear which teams raised the most money. The Art of Healing took first place,  raising $4,596.  KimHillStrong placed second, raising $3,763, and the A Team placed third, raising $1,877.

Sophomore Walker Heller, from the team The Art of Healing, raised $930 by himself, and   was named the individual participant who raised the most money.

“I was just so happy I was able to raise that much money for a great cause and I know I did my part in the fight to end cancer,” he said.

All in all, Warren Hills’ Relay for Life was able to successfully honor the hard work, courage, and bravery of those dealing with and affected by cancer.

“It was great seeing the whole community come together for a great cause,” said sophomore Lauren Kohansby. “It was great to be a part of Relay for Life.”