Relay for Life
AFN file

It will be hard to top the results of last year’s event but to the students from Mountain Pointe and Desert Vista High Schools, as well as the surrounding community, whatever they raise in the 2012 Relay for Life, they know it will be a huge benefit and could possibly saves lives.

In 2011, the Relay for Life of Ahwatukee Foothills raised $145,000 for the American Cancer Society and that earned them recognition as the second largest youth-based high school event in the country.

Relay for Life is a combined effort of the two local high schools and the 2012 event is taking place April 14-15 this year at Desert Vista High School, 16440 S. 32nd St.

“The important thing is that it is a community event with not just the students, who are usually rivals,” said Paul Song, a Mountain Pointe student who is on the marketing committee for the event and has participated all four years.

It is an overnight event involving teams who walk the track starting on Saturday at 1 p.m. The teams try to keep at least one member on the track at all times until the event concludes at 10 a.m. on Sunday.

The day and evening are highlighted by a couple things, Song said. The first is hand-decorated luminaries, bags that surround the track where people walk, and each is dedicated to someone fighting or who has lost the battle with cancer.

“People can choose to decorate or dedicate to someone who has passed away, and you see names and sometimes photos,” Song said. “You see them and you wonder. And I feel like we come together because of that.”

The aspect of the event that really makes it hit home is the presence of the cancer survivors, many of whom come to the track and participate, watch, and speak with the students and community.

“We have a few minutes where survivors talk about what they faced and share their stories,” Song said. “After the presentation is over, we pass the candles out to each individual and turn off lights. Then people walk the track and walk in silence. It’s actually very emotional.”

Donations can still be made for the Relay for Life of Ahwatukee Foothills. More details and information can be found on the main page,

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