INSPIRED TO SUPPORT CANCER RESEARCH
Each year, thousands of Relay for Life events take place across the world to raise money and awareness for the American Cancer Society. Communities, universities and other groups gather overnight to fight back against cancer, and each Relay team continuously walks around the track, while also enjoying activities and entertainment.
The goal of the night is for each team to raise funds for cancer treatment research as well as celebrate the victories against cancer and remember those who have been lost to cancer. To date, it is estimated that Relay for Life has raised over $3 billion to fight cancer.
Typically, most of these events are held Friday-to-Saturday; however, after much talk about the interference with the Sabbath, the Atlanta-area community has planned the first all-day Sunday event, Ruach Atlanta, for Oct. 14 (see relayforlife.org/ruachga for more info).
Like any large event, it requires much planning; to help, 13-year-old Molly Peters is currently serving on the Ruach Atlanta Steering Committee.
Despite the wide age gap between herself and the rest of the members, Molly has been an integral part of the planning process. She has done everything from hanging up signs to soliciting donations and entertainment. According to her mother, Kim Peters, who is also on the Steering Committee, Molly single handedly got the DJ company Atlanta Fever to donate their services for the event.
Molly is participating in Relay for Life as part of her bat mitzvah project, but her passion for fighting cancer goes beyond that.
“I know people who have had cancer, so I thought this would be a really good way to help out,” she explains.
With her grandmother currently battling breast cancer, Molly is very excited to make her loved one a part of her Relay for Life experience.
“I think some kids do mitzvah projects because they feel like they have to, but the thing that makes us really proud of Molly is that this is something she wants to do because she knows people who have been touched by cancer,” Kim Peters said. “She really wants to raise money and awareness for cancer.”
Besides the hard work and dedication, Molly will also donate a portion of her bat mitzvah money received to the American Cancer Society. And throughout the planning process, Molly has had to make sacrifices.
“I commit to going to these meetings,so I’ve missed social events with friends and had to learn to balance them,” she said. “I do think it will really be worth it once the event is here because it’s going to be awesome.”
Molly says she will take away many life lessons from her time on the Steering Committee when all is said and done. She explains that she realized how much work is needed to plan a community event, like working through all the logistics and finding committed volunteers to help. Perhaps most importantly, Molly has realized that you can’t do it alone and need teamwork to be successful.
On the day of the event, Molly is excited to see all her hard work pay off and raise a lot of money for cancer research. She hopes that the community will come out to support the event as well.
“Doing the Relay for Life event can really help people who have had cancer or [who] have a loved one with cancer realize that the community wants to help them and that they are not alone,” she said.
Editor’s Note: The AJT is a proud sponsor of Ruach Atlanta.
By Jessie Miller