“One of the people we walked for was Ms Grace, a teacher who works at Warwick Academy. She’s been at the school for 40 years,” said Alexys Murray, the 2019-2020 Student Council President, who dedicated her time helping to prepare and organise the Warwick Academy team for Relay for Life.
“She told us in Year 10 that she was a cancer survivor,” said Shani Tucker, deputy head girl.
“We walk for her and many others We showed our support through the time we dedicated … Alexys did a lot for it … supporting, organising, and leading. She was at Relay for Life for almost 30 hours.”
Alexys and other students demonstrated outstanding commitment at Relay for Life, a 24-hour annual fundraising walk.
The event took place last month at the National Stadium to raise funds for the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre.
These funds will help the centre achieve its goal of ensuring equal access to cancer treatment, regardless of one’s financial state.
This year, the school demonstrated their support for this cause by participating with great enthusiasm.
Alexys chose to utilise the theme of Hydrokinesis — the power to control water — as a fun way to encourage participation and increase awareness of the event.
Students spent many hours creating ocean-themed decorations for their tent at Relay for Life. With the help of her peers, Alexys persuaded members of the Warwick Academy community to wear clothing associated with water, such as wet suits or blue T-shirts. They also brought items relevant to the theme, such as rubber rings, goggles and flippers.
This theme was inspired by one of the school’s motivational hashtags, #RippleEffect, which emphasises the importance of considering that one’s actions, little or small, can make a considerable impact elsewhere.
#RippleEffect enlightened students and other participants about the ethics of their choices.
The hashtag stimulated those at the walk to think about how their actions, such as the action of supporting this event, could impact others. Each footstep on the track was symbolic for each life lost, each life that won the battle, and each life that this event could possibly save. Each footstep represented a step closer to the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre’s goal — providing care and treatment to cancer patients despite possible financial setbacks.
Relay for Life holds great significance for many participants, especially within the Warwick Academy family.
Amani Simons, a Year 12 student at the school, opened up about her personal connection to the event. “I walk for my grandpa. I walk every year. I have been walking for five years. My mom and I lived with my grandparents. He was there, like, all the time and he died when I was in Year 8. His presence was so warming and comforting.”
The experience of close losses is one that many participants unfortunately share, as well as being connected to someone who survived.
Yasmin Burt, a peer of Amani’s, said: “The moment of silence … the walk … It made me very emotional. I’ve had family who had cancer and they’ve survived so it always makes me think about them.”
During Relay for Life, there were several thought-provoking and emotionally arousing ceremonies, some of which Yasmin described.
Amani’s grandfather was in one of the pictures that graced one of the hundreds of luminaria, which were laid out upon the field. These lights were a symbol of remembrance for those who were lost. Additionally, the tranquility of seeing a sunset or sunrise there was not only humbling but a moment for remembrance; a moment to remember loved ones who are now eternally resting after battling with cancer.
Witnessing a sunrise or sunset while participating in Relay for Life was a reminder to persevere to ensure that those who are fighting now can receive the care that could help them live to see another sunset.
Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre’s Relay for Life event will have a #RippleEffect for many years to come — an effect the Warwick Academy community contributes to each year as they encourage the rest of Bermuda to continue to do the same.