|Father Ryan High School students again raised a record-breaking amount of money for the American Cancer Society during the overnight Relay for Life, held Oct. 15 at the school.|
On Saturday, Oct. 15, Father Ryan held its annual Relay for Life fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Coordinated this year by two seniors, Malachy Doyle and Daniel Hayes, the event raised $175,000. That was $30,000 more than last year and the biggest draw for a student-led Relay in the country.
In fact, Father Ryan’s fundraiser has been the largest student-led Relay for Life in the nation over the past six years which can certainly make for some high expectations.
“For me, my biggest challenge was comparing this year’s fundraising to last year’s,” said Hayes. “Last year we raised just shy of $150,000 and this year we honestly started out a little slow, so I was very scared and nervous. But I really did have hope in our committee and I knew we could do it.”
That committee consisted of 42 students from the sophomore, junior and senior classes. They also had support from Casey Stein, a representative from the American Cancer Society.
And, when it came to registrants – the actual walkers who raised the money – the whole community pitched in, to the tune of 1,000 participants.
|Coordinated this year by two seniors, Malachy Doyle and Daniel Hayes, the event raised $175,000. That was $30,000 more than last year and the biggest draw for a student-led Relay in the country.|
It helped that Doyle and Hayes were able to use their social media smarts to expand their outreach and awareness campaign, even employing a Relay for Life app. “We had teams from St. Cecilia, Pope John Paul II, Franklin High, St. Edward, St. Henry, and more,” said Doyle. “We also had alumni and parent tents. This was the largest participation yet. We truly did make this a day to remember.”
The two seniors spearheaded the Relay for Life while juggling loaded class schedules, figuring out college and other adult-life transition issues, and devoting significant time to other community service activities. Doyle helps out with Room in the Inn, and has attended mission trips like Alternative Spring Break. She was one of only three juniors last year inducted into the St. Vincent de Paul Service Society.
Hayes is active at Holy Family Parish and with Olancho Aid, an organization that builds homes for the people of Honduras. At Father Ryan he serves at all-school Masses and plays varsity lacrosse.
It’s easy to see how they’d make a strong team. “We’ve known each other since sophomore year and have been good friends for a very long time,” said Hayes. “We worked on Relay together on a daily basis, which meant we spent a very long time together. Overall I think our different personalities and work ethics complimented each other and we were able to work together in order to make this Relay happen.”
This is neither’s first “rodeo.” Doyle has been involved with Father Ryan’s Relay for Life for four years; Hayes for three. Each had their own personal reasons for taking this on. Hayes said, “Relay for Life has always been important to me because I’ve personally seen so many people, friends and family, suffer through this horrible disease, as well as watch families struggle through watching their loved ones fight cancer.”
Doyle joined her freshman year when the mother of one of her best friends was diagnosed with breast cancer. “My friend started a team in her honor,” said Doyle. “I saw how much it affected her and I wanted to help. Four years later, her mom walks as a survivor.”
There were other side benefits too. Hayes felt like the Relay gave him an opportunity to grow as a community leader. It also deepened his belief in the power of his faith. “Our community comes together by praying for cancer patients and survivors,” he explained. “I think this sense of faith that surrounds the event gives everyone participating a true love and desire for this cause, to truly win the fight against cancer.”
“My faith helped me through the entire journey,” added Doyle. “With my faith, I was able to see beyond the money and have a clear view of the mission and accomplishments of our community. I grew closer to my classmates, I was introduced to survivors and fighters, and I went the whole day never questioning our abilities.
“I have never been more proud of my generation,” continued Doyle. “We are a generation of hope. A generation that raised enough money to house over 42 cancer patients at the Hope Lodge (which provides housing free of charge to cancer patients and caregivers during treatment) for six weeks. With the money our generation raised, we are now $175,000 closer to ending cancer. We are a generation that will finish the fight!”