Relay For Life: More Than Community Service

By Sarah Walker

Comment Staff

For sophomore Elementary Education and Art major, Abigail Tremblay, Bridgewater State University’s annual Relay for LiFe is more than just a fundraising event.

After both of Tremblay’s grandfathers passed away from cancer, her father fought Melanoma, and her close friend from home, Allie Hawkes, beat the disease twice, Tremblay has participated and been inspired by Relay for Life.

Even though Hawkes, has been doing well, having a loved one sick back home means a lot of stress for a full-time student.

Tremblay, left, and Hawkes, right, have been friends since high school. Together they help one another deal with Hawkes cancer. Abigail Tremblay Photo.

“I worry about Allie constantly and try my best for her, knowing she was unable to attend college this past fall,” Tremblay said. “If I could take the cancer away from her or anyone, I would in a heartbeat.”

Tremblay knows firsthand what is means watching a loved one battle cancer, while trying to remain positive and supportive and feels events like Relay for LiFe are meant to help and encourage all of the struggling people in the world.

English, Elementary Education major and Relay for LiFe co-event chair, Kayla Hindle, agrees that the fundraiser lives up the support that everyone dealing with cancer needs. Hindle said even though the event is meant to be fun, it helps participants cope with whatever their circumstances may be.

“We gather to celebrate survivors, remember those we’ve lost, and fight back against this terrible disease,” said Hindle.

When Tremblay spends time with Hawkes, she rarely brings up her disease and tries to make her friend feel like a normal college student. Instead of being brought down by the disease that has invaded her family members and close friend, Tremblay said she treasures the moments she spends with Hawkes and has learned a lot throughout.

“It saddens me to know that there are other children and people out there who have to deal with something so tragic,” Tremblay said. “But the way Allie and I look at it is that there are bigger and better things to think about.”

Like Tremblay mentioned, not talking about her friend’s disease when they are together means letting Hawkes escape from a world that everyone always brings up. At the same time, Hawkes does the same for Tremblay.

“Even when she is in the hospital, she is so peppy and bubbly, so lots of times she makes me more positive,” Tremblay said.

Other than Hawkes, Tremblay’s family and friends help her deal with the stress and worry with having a loved one with cancer. When Tremblay lets her friend’s disease affect her, or bring her back to the pain of seeing loved ones battling the disease, she tries to remain positive and go by a motto she has followed for years: try to make someone smile everyday.

Bridgewater State University will host Relay for LiFe in the Tinsley center on Friday night, into Saturday morning. All proceeds for the event go to the American Cancer Society, to not only fund, but raise awareness for cancer.

Sarah Walker is on the Comment’s Design Team. Email her at

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