One of my earliest childhood memories is of the day that my mom came home with no hair. I didn’t understand what chemotherapy was until she had been cured for several years, but my knowledge of cancer stemmed from early experiences like this one.
Last Saturday, the Spectator participated in Seattle University’s branch of Relay for Life, wherein student groups fundraise for the American Cancer Society. The bizarre thing about cancer is that everyone has had contact with it. Some connections are more tangential than others, but everyone knows someone. And so when dozens of students show up to relay, all of the participants have something in common.
But one thing I began to ruminate on throughout this year’s event was the notion that despite the commonality, the variance of experience is drastic. I’m not going to act as though I understand anyone else’s pain with regards to cancer. And with a spectrum of experience, comes a spectrum of ways that people feel about the event. Not everyone accesses gatherings like Relay for Life in the same way—some might not even want the shared endeavor. But, to me, the communal experience is a huge part of what makes it impactful.
I remember one Sunday morning during my mom’s treatment—I was standing next to her while she was getting ready for church. I asked her if people were going to think it was strange that she suddenly had no hair. She said no, people would understand. That notion of community care is what I resonate with now. That idea that even in varying contexts, people can decide to go to the campus field and be on the same page for 18 hours—which is somewhat rare at Seattle U.
We walked laps around the track, participated in a Luminaria ceremony and spent the night on the turf. It was respectfully and warmly orchestrated, and those in charge did a wonderful job.
All in all, Seattle U’s branch raised almost $28,000. And that is truly
—Lena Beck, News & Managing Editor