By: Arushi Atluri
After a much-deserved dinner break, relayers prepared for one of the most anticipated events of the day: the Luminaria Ceremony. As the sun set, committee members slowly candle-lit paper bags that they lined around the track. “The lighting was very pretty and symbolic. It really expresses the memories of all cancer patients and how their struggles have impacted all of us,” said Junior Jonathan Chen.
The ceremony began with Juniors Dana Gurion and Austin Lee singing Coldplay’s “Fix You.” After their medley ended, Event Chair Senior Mili Parikh introduced two caregivers and one cancer survivor as guest speakers. Caregiver Dimple Jashnani gave the first speech about her father who had passed away from colon cancer, and next came Freshman Caregiver Jacinta Chang with a speech about her experiences with having a mother with breast cancer. Cancer Survivor Freshman Karen Trinh concluded the Luminaria Ceremony with a heartfelt speech about her experiences with leukemia, and how cancer has shaped the person she has become. “All the speeches were really touching, and they definitely made the event seem all the more real. In the midst of all these lights it was beautiful to see how everyone could come together, and it showed a different side of MSJ,” said Sophomore Vivian Liu.
As soon as the ceremony was over, relayers walked a final lap around the track. Eager participants filled the track while holding their brightly lit candles. “I thought the Luminaria lap was beautiful,” said English Teacher Jean Dotson. “It was the first time that the whole group came together as one, and there was a tangible connection between us all. It was just visually so stunning.”
Soon after the Luminaria lap, all nonovernighters had to leave, and the final stretch of MSJ’s first relay for life began.
Photos: Shirby Wang and Anna Tang