$450,000. That’s how much money my school raised by refusing to sit or sleep for 24 hours at our dance marathon, Elonthon. We fundraised for Duke’s Children Hospital, bringing research and resources to a local hospital.
The following weekend, I helped to raise over $75,000 for the American Cancer Society by staying awake for 12 hours straight. There, we had many organizations and clubs come to support the fight against cancer.
Many of my friends appreciated and acknowledged that I was a part of these organizations, but a lot of them also asked me “Why? Why would you willingly do that?” At first, I told them it was because I’d heard it was an Elon tradition and I wanted to check it off my bucket list.
But really, that was kind of a lie. I knew what I was doing, and why. I knew that it was a bigger cause that I was influencing than my bucket list. All of the money that we raised went towards such great organizations and I knew that when I signed myself up for them.
Sure, I was tired for those 36 hours that I forced myself to stay awake, and yeah, my feet hurt for the 24 hours that I wasn’t allowed to sit for Elonthon, but those are trivial problems in the grand scheme of things. So what if I became delirious around 4 AM?
One of the mottos for Relay for Life is that we stay up all night to fight cancer because it doesn’t sleep, so neither should we. Similarly, at Elonthon, we stand for those children in the hospital who are too sick and physically unable to do so.
For the past seven years, I have been heavily involved with the American Cancer Society and helping to run the Relay for Life at my middle school and high school. I was on the committee each year, as well as being a team captain, and being the decorating chair my senior year along with friends. Each year, it’s one of my favorite events and I look forward to it for weeks to come.
Because I have seen the impact that Relay for Life has had on others, I have even changed my career goal. I used to want to be a lawyer to help others, but recently, I’ve been thinking about working with nonprofits and getting involved with them.
There’s a lot of talk among parents and older generations about generation Z kids or millennials or whatever they want to call us. They often make remarks about how useless we are, lazy, or selfish. I raised over $800 by myself for these two organizations.
Therefore, I don’t understand how they can insult us when we’re making such big strides in research for important causes and taking so many hours out of our precious weekends to help others.