IMG_2725The American Cancer Society describes its signature Relay for Life events as the “ultimate fundraiser that brings communities together to fight cancer.”

That was the case on May 5, when as many as 67 students from Saint Viator joined with faculty and staff to celebrate life, lift up those fighting cancer and work toward a world without this devastating disease.

The 12-hour event took place outdoors at Prospect High School and merged the Arlington Heights chapter with those from Des Plaines, Mount Prospect, Park Ridge and Wheeling.

IMG_2644Accompany Saint Viator students were Mrs. Cathy Abrahamian, who has helped moderate the event every year since 2005, and her husband, Don, as well as Mrs. Barbara D’Urso, who originally started Saint Viator’s involvement back in 2000, Mrs. Rita Scully and Coach Jim McGuire ’89.

Special guests included Mr. Brian Liedlich, president, and his wife, Maria, who is a cancer survivor, as well as faculty survivors: Fr. Dan Hall, CSV, Fr. Arnie Perham, CSV, Mrs. Vicki Giusti and Mr. John Paulik. Principal Karen Love was a featured speaker representing Saint Viator.

IMG_2884Even at this larger version of the event, Saint Viator students stood out. They won the team spirit award, and for the third consecutive year, students were awarded the American Cancer Society team excellence award.

In terms of money, Saint Viator’s team raised more than $8,000, putting the group in third place out of the 29 teams that took part. Since its involvement, Saint Viator students and their families have raised more than $150,000 for cancer-fighting programs.

IMG_2641Emotions were running high right from the start, when Saint Viator faculty and staff who are cancer survivors, led the team during the opening survivors’ lap ceremony. They built toward one of the highlights of the night, a candlelight prayer service hosted by Saint Viator students.

“Our students really enjoy having faculty and staff come out to support the cause,” Mrs. Abrahamian adds. “It is a moving event, especially with the luminaria memorial service and our own evening prayer service led by our students.”