Hopkinton Community Plans for the 6th Relay for Life

Karissa Collins

A lawn sign stands in a Hopkinton yard advertising the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event, which will take place May 11th-12th from 6pm-6am. Photo by Karissa Collins.

By Karissa Collins
A large majority of the Hopkinton community will be coming together on May 11th at the high school track to participate in the town’s annual Relay for Life event.  This is the sixth year in a row that Hopkinton has hosted the event.

“Relay for Life is a life-changing event that helps communities across the globe celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease,” explained Event Manager Gillian Baudreau.  Baudreau serves as the liaison between the Hopkinton Planning Committee and the American Cancer Society.  She is considered a Community Executive for Development by the Society.

“The overnight event symbolizes the journey of a cancer patient through their diagnosis, their treatment, and their recovery. Day and night represent the physical effects, emotions, and mental state of a cancer patient during their fight,” said co-chair Jennifer Lynds, senior at HHS.

Senior Katrina Parsons has participated Relay for Life since the beginning.  She was in seventh grade at the time the event first started.  Parsons relays in memory of her grandmother, who died of cancer when Katrina was six years old. “Relay is a great event where I am able to honor my grandmother’s memory and fight back against cancer,” Parsons said.

Another large aspect of the event is celebrating those within the community that have survived through the frightful disease.  Susan Thornton, who is in charge of Survivorship on the Planning Committee, has also participated in Relay from the beginning, six years ago.  She plans out the large dinner for survivors and their loved ones that takes place after the opening ceremonies. “I love the dinner. There is a real comradery in the air. All of the survivors and their caregivers having a meal together is really neat. It is always a fun and upbeat time, no talk of cancer or treatments, just a good time together, “ explained Mrs. Thornton.

“Our goals this year are to have 95 teams, consisting of 1,000 participants, raise $165,000 while honoring 50 survivors.  This year, we set the bar higher with the hopes of achieving greater success,” explained Lynds.

The Hopkinton event has continuously been a success every year it has been hosted.  “Since the Hopkinton Relay For Life began in 2007, the event has raised over $760,000!” enthused Gillian.

This incredible amount has also lead to bigger things as well.  “For the past several years, Middlesex County, of which Hopkinton is a part, has been awarded the nationwide #1 Per Capita Award! Of counties across the country with 1 Million or more people, Middlesex placed first for the amount of money raised. A huge accomplishment,” Gillian also explained.

With the event fast approaching, the committee, consisting of primarily high school students with some Hopkinton adults, has been working hard to get everything in order. “The committee is responsible for all of the logistics of the event. We plan the food, entertainment, ceremonies, and make sure the event runs smoothly. The committee is also responsible for advertising the event, recruiting teams to participate, and soliciting business donations to fundraise for the event,” said Parsons.

The next big thing the committee is looking forward to is what they call “Bank Night”.  Bank night this year will be on May 2nd at 6:30pm in the High School cafeteria.  All team captains are advised to be there. “Bank night is the night when team captains and their team members bring the donations and fundraising money they have received, choose a campsite, and pick-up their team’s t-shirts,” Lynds explained.

“The committee is raffling off a huge basket of goodies at Bank Night.  The basket includes over $90 worth of Hillers apparel from the school store, $20 gift certificate to Dino’s Pizza, $30 gift certificate to Bill’s Pizza, $15 iTunes card, 2 movie passes, candy, popcorn, a Relay for Life tote bag, and certificates for the first campsite pick and a VIP parking location to avoid the hectic parking the day of Relay,” said junior co-chair Connor Zanini.  “Tickets can be purchased at Bank Night for $5 or you can buy 3 tickets for $10.”

The committee will be continuously working hard through the event to make it an unforgettable experience for all who attend.  All are welcome up until 11pm. After then,  you are required to have a wristband, obtained by raising at least $100, to stay.

“Each portion of the night offers unique and memorable memories for the community to foster,“ Zanini said.

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