Over this past summer, the Rio cheerleaders participated in American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, continuing on their tradition of 12 years. This 24 hour event is an overnight and organized community event where people are constantly walking around the track and these teams camp around the track, fundraising as much money as possible to put towards cancer research.
Relay for Life began in May 1985 in Tacoma, Washington when Dr. Gordy Klatt walked and ran around a track for 24 hours and raised $27,000 for cancer research.
These events are run and put on by involved individuals in the community.
Over all these years, cheer has raised over $80,000. This year with 40 girls fundraising for the event, they raised a total of approximately $3,500.
According to head coach Demeris Athey, this event is important because it helps bond that year’s cheer team while giving back to the community.
“It allows our team to participate in a community event where we all come together for the same purpose to honor and work towards the same cause,” said Athey. “It is important for a team, especially a cheerleading team, to work together as a unit. Doing this activity helps us to set the tone for the whole year.”
Many of the cheerleaders also agree that Relay for Life is an important event for both the community and the closeness of the team.
“It is very comforting and important knowing we can make a difference when we combine forces towards the same goals,” said senior varsity cheerleader Sydney Vallee. “This helps us prove to ourselves that we can all create a positive effect on the community by community involvement.”
Cheer intends to continue participating in Relay for Life in coming years because of the benefits to the community as well as the team.