By: Staff Writer Neha Shah
The morning started in a daze, and Relayers began waking up in between five and six AM. The clouds and wind caused groups to walk around the track bundled up in blankets.
At around 7:10 AM, Yoga class, led by volunteers Iru Puri and Deepti Sahu, started. Students learned various different asanas (poses) and exercises. Some of the poses learned included those of: standing relaxing, sitting relaxing, cobra, dead body, tree, cow face, horse, butterfly and half butterfly, downward dog, and sun salutation. The exercises demonstrated were those of breathing, loosening, deep relaxation, and cycling. After the relaxing and quite entertaining yoga session, students went back to their tents. Relayers took part in various activities ranging from soccer to volleyball, and even frisbee. Many students were also seen taking pictures, celebrating their nearly 24-hour adventure with one another.
Many waited in anticipation and looked forward to the Closing Ceremony as the time grew closer and closer to 9AM. When it was finally time, Relayers were called and settled around the stage in 15 minutes. The exhausted yet excited spirit was apparent in everyone’s eyes and faces. With the endless clouds looming over everyone and the brisk air filling everyone’s lungs, the Closing Ceremony began. Event Chair Senior Juhi Dalal and Co-chair Junior Shivam Parikh started the ceremony by pumping the entire crowd up. Dalal continuously yelled “Good morning! Is everyone awake?” After the crowd answered back multiple times, Dalal and Parikh congratulated and thanked all of the participants for raising money for the event. They handed the mic over to Co-chair of Ceremonies, Lucy Szeto. Szeto welcomed Diana Brumbaugh, Assistant Principal, onto the stage. Brumbaugh shocked the participants by telling her heartfelt story on the discovery of her diagnosed, stage 3, breast cancer.
In 2012, on December 12, Brumbaugh received a call from her doctor saying that she had breast cancer. She recalled going to Leticia Vargas and being so stunned that she just spewed out the words “I have cancer.” Brumbaugh remarked that she usually jokes about undergoing every single treatment available to cancer patients. Surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation are just to name a few. She also spoke of how her lymph nodes had to be removed, and that she now suffers from lymphedema. As a conclusion to her story, she spoke of the amount of support she had, form her family, friends, and the Mission San Jose High School staff. Although Brumbaugh was given full benefits for all of the therapy and medication, she thanked the participants for raising money because she knows that all of the treatments cost tremendous amount. Brumbaugh said “Cancer treatment is brutal… we need to have more genetic testing and research as well as find more ways to prevent and treat cancer…I am so touched and impressed by all of you [for raising money].”
Soon afterwards, the final performance of the Relay for Life (RFL) 2015 event ensued. Junior Chris Kwok nervously walked onto the stage and spoke to the audience. “Whether or not you’ve been directly related to someone by cancer, it doesn’t matter. Even if a friend or someone you know has been affected by cancer.” In his speech, his voice continuously cracked and shook as he opened up to everyone and told them the reason why he participated in RFL. Kwok then performed to an instrumental version of “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith and “Legends” by Razihel Ft., TeamMate.
Dalal and Parikh returned to the stage by awarding the top three fundraising teams: Win the Fight being the third, Team Glory Days being the second, and Thady World 100 being the first. They also announced the net total amount that had been fundraised by MSJ, a total of over their goal, a total of $51,798.58. As Dalal and Parikh were about to end the ceremony, Junior Lucy Szeto and Senior Ashna Guliani playfully intervened to thank Dalal and Parikh for putting countless hours into the planning of RF.L.
Relay for Life (RFL) has brought countless individuals closer together over the years. If there’s one thing that all participants have either heard or learned, it’s the fact that all we need is a support system–a family of people to help us through are toughest times and darkest hours.