Virtual Relay for Life


Participants of the 2019 Relay for Life complete the opening survivor lap around the track to begin the event.

story by Hannah Fuller | photography courtesy of Kennedy Chenault

Sitting in the comfort of her own home, East junior Ellie Ford talked with her fellow Relay for Life student chair members to decide what they should do about the event that so many students and teachers look forward to each year.

After the decision was made for Ohio students to continue with virtual learning for the rest of the school year, the in-person Relay for Life, a charity event that raises money for the American Cancer Society, was changed from May 8, 2020 to be a virtual event which would take place on May 15, 2020. 

During the virtual Relay for Life, there will be activities posted on the East Relay for Life Twitter and Instagram from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.. A guest speaker will talk about their relationship with cancer, and seniors will explain why they relay every year, via pre-recorded videos. There will be the annual  “Miss Relay” pageant  with four boys from each grade level as well as a zumba class. 

Ford has been participating in Relay for Life since she was a sophomore, but has a special connection to event after surviving cancer herself.  She is now the junior Chair for East. 

“I’m excited to see everyone participate in Relay for Life in a way that has never been done before,” Ford told Spark. “We want people to simply have fun with this.” 

The Relay for Life committee worked for two weeks, using Zoom to communicate, to create the event.  

Although Relay for Life will look different this year, students at East are still looking forward to it. East junior Sophia Smolyansky has been participating in the event since she was a freshman. 

“I’m really excited to still have Relay this year,” Smolyansky says. “Even though it won’t be the same, I’m still looking forward to it.”

Despite the event not being the same as years past, Ford is still optimistic and hopes the event will spread joy and bring awareness to the American Cancer Society.

“During this time in our lives, we want to bring as much hope and positivity as we can,” Ford says. “Many students look forward to this night all school year, so [the chairs] decided this was the best option.”