By Celia BURSTEIN
When the collaborative Relay for Life rummage sale, usually held by several local teams, was postponed, Clark Magnet High School’s team decided to organize one on its own, hoping to raise over $200. But after the sale, last Sunday, April 18, team members found themselves dividing about $470 in raised donations. “Honestly, I think it was really amazing how everyone supported us,” said co-captain Lana Mousessian, at whose yard the sale was held. “Somebody bought some things and came back later to donate other things for us to sell.”
The American Cancer Society Relay for Life – an annual overnight event dedicated to celebrating cancer survivors, remembering cancer victims and raising money to fight the disease – will begin on May 15 at the Clark field. In order to participate in the event, members of the 28 teams must each raise a minimum of $100 in donations.
According to Mousessian, the team began planning for the rummage sale more than a month in advance, advertising the opportunity to both donate and buy in local newspapers and on campus. During the event, Mousessian and co-captain Francesca Valencia handed out flyers at the Harvest Market, drawing in a final turnout of more than 40 people, according to Valencia.
Valencia said she didn’t expect so many things to sell, citing a man who bought a whole box of comics she was certain would remain untouched. In addition to the cheap pricing, Valencia believes that the success of the sale is largely due to
“We really told them why they’re doing it,” Valencia said. “People figured, ‘If I have to give it away, I would rather give it to a good cause.’” According to team members, many people purposely overpaid for their purchases or donated money without buying anything.
Captain leader Jacqueline Nazarian, a three-year member of Clark’s team, originally joined the effort in honor of people she knew had been affected by cancer. This year, Nazarian had an additional motive: her senior project. As part of her field work, Nazarian participated in the organization of the rummage sale, attended Relay meetings with Valencia and advisor Carol Pettegrew at J’s Maintenance and publicized the sale at school.
Nazarian also succeeded in convincing senior Narineh Khanbabaei to join the team, who did so after a family friend passed away from cancer. “It’s my job as a citizen to help my community, and getting to do it with friends and people I like is just icing on the cake,” said Khanbabaei.
According to Valencia, the team will be holding another rummage sale later on, due to the large quantity of donations still remaining unsold. The team is also planning to do on-site fundraisers during Relay, including selling bracelets and games. But for Valencia and her team members, the Relay doesn’t solely revolve around donations. “We want to not just raise money, but awareness,” she said.
Anyone wishing to contribute to the team can visit