Although the long anticipated and thoughtfully organized Relay For Life, was unfortunately rained out March 10 just twelve hours into the twenty four hour event, the Luminaria Ceremony persisted. Last Wednesday, at 7pm University of Redlands students took to the steps of the administration building to light candles in remembrance for those lost to cancer.
The Redlands Bulldog speaks to Senior Rebecca Matthews, the President of Relay For Life, who has been an integral part of the orchestration of Relay For Life her four years at the University of Redlands.
“I have been participating in Relay For Life for eight years,” explained Matthews. “When I was a freshman Relay For Life was about to plan it’s second event on the Redlands campus and I wanted to be there at it’s beginnings. It has been a long journey planning and organizing Relay and I hope in my absence it will continue to thrive.”
Although Relay For Life is the culmination of a year’s labor, Matthews is gratified by simply seeing the event take place.
“There is no better feeling then to see a year of hard work come together in one event. It is truly the campus and students who have pushed me to plan an event that everyone will enjoy. Although it was my last time planning Relay for Redlands students I will never stop relaying and I will never stop fighting for a cure.”
Relay For Life includes several events over the course of the twenty four hour relay period, one of which is the Luminaria Ceremony.
“The Luminaria Ceremony is a celebration of life and a way to silently remember those we have lost,” shared Matthews. “As we light candles and read the names on the bags we see how many lives have been impacted by cancer. The light represents their spirit and also hope for a cure in the future.”
Once Wednesday’s Luminaria Ceremony ended Matthews was moved by emotions.
“When Relay came to an end I honestly cried,” Matthews said. “It was a feeling of an accomplishment but also a feeling of relief. The amount of time and effort that goes on behind the scenes to plan the event is significant. I have been the event coordinator for three years and there has not been a day where I haven’t thought about how the event will go or what I need to do to make it amazing.”
Just a day after Matthews’ final Relay For Life at the University of Redlands she reflects on her efforts.
“I hope my hard work and effort has touched those who have been affected and those who need an army standing and fighting alongside them.”
Photos contributed by Eric Enbom.