National Honors Society hosts Relay for Life

Event held to support lives touched by cancer


Ravali Vallurupalli / the Talon

Ravali Vallurupalli, Senior Staff Writer

Relay for Life was organized and hosted by the National Honors Society (NHS) on March 6 at the Oak Park High School football field from 6-10 p.m. 

“It has been a really good turnout. I am really glad to see so many people being so willing to give,” NHS vice president Anusha Rao said. 

NHS is a student organization that participates in community service. Some events they host include food, clothes and toy drives. The club’s most recent event was focused on supporting and recognizing the impact of cancer. 

“I thought it would be really good to bring this event to Oak Park knowing how prevalent cancer is in everyone’s lives and how we are all touched by it in one way or another,” Rao said. 

Relay for Life paralleled a walk-a-thon as every lap a volunteer walked around the track was another charm added to the thin metal bracelets they were given when signing in. The charms were a way to count a participant’s total laps for donations being made. 

“I think it is a good idea. I think it is cute having the beads for your bracelet, and you can see all your laps together,” junior Pauline Tran said. 

Participants and volunteers were able to donate through NHS’s Rally Up platform. Both per-lap and flat donations were taken by the platform, and all proceeds went to the American Cancer Society

“I was already thrilled with how much everyone was donating. It surpassed my expectations. We plan to hold this event every year [and] hopefully, we will do this again next year,” Rao said. 

While the event mirrored a walk-a-thon, a variety of activities were added to the 4-hour event. Such activities entailed a relay, hula hoop competition and backward-running race. At the end of the night, a candle lighting ceremony was led by a cancer survivor. 

“One of the best parts of this entire event is at the end of the night. We do a candle lighting ceremony where we break a glow stick and that is really wonderful. I hope that people stay around for that and then keep coming back because of that experience,” Rao said.

Inspired by a similar event at UC Irvine, Rao thought of the idea early in the school year. August was planning, January was organizing, February was publicity and March was the event. 

“It is a lot of effort to organize an event of this magnitude-starting with getting permission to use the track, to all the publicity it took,” Rao said. 

Along with Rao, NHS president Kevin Ma, secretary Mina Jung, treasurer Amanda Dermott and historian Allyson Youde worked to create a successful night. 

“I’m very lucky to have a wonderful officer team that supported me as we planned this event and were willing to go to all the elementary schools and the middle schools to talk about this,” Rao said. 

All members of the community were welcome to attend or participate in Relay for Life. 

“I think it is really important that we can organize stuff like this at our school,” junior Andrew Hearst said. “I have seen a lot of people that I know and a lot of people that I do not, and it is great to just bring the community together.”