Voices (ISL Stories)

Uniting for Hope: Relais pour la Vie

Join us as we delve into the impactful journey of Jaden and Travis, two dedicated students from ISL, who chose to make a difference through their service learning project. Their initiative, centered around Relais pour la Vie, showcases the power of community engagement and compassion in supporting cancer research and care programs. Let's explore their insights, challenges, and aspirations as they share their remarkable experience.

Can you briefly introduce yourself, including your grade and department?

My name is Jaden, G11. I have been at ISL since G4. My name is Travis, G9, I have been at ISL since G2. 

Could you provide a brief overview of your "Relais pour la vie" project and its objectives?

For our CAS/Service learning project we were coordinating the ISL participants’ registration for the Relais pour la vie, an annual 24-hour relay event which took place during the weekend of March 23-24 2024. The Relais is a very much-anticipated event in Luxembourg with 526 teams and around 13595 participants taking part and over 890,000€ raised this year for the Fondation Cancer. Our objective is to raise money to support cancer research and cancer care programmes which offer financial and psychological support to patients’ families. Therefore we also participated in several events such as the Big ISL Show or the Holiday Market organised at ISL to raise cancer awareness and funds for the Fondation Cancer.

What inspired you to choose the Relais pour la vie as the focus of your Service-Learning project?

We have participated in this event quite a few times before. These positive experiences of running in the Relais in previous years have motivated us to take our involvement to the next level by leading ISL’s teams and fundraising this year. Cancer can affect anyone and we probably all know at least one person who had to fight cancer. Fundraising and advocacy activities help keep cancer in the public consciousness and hopefully encourage more people to get involved, donate, and spread the message about the importance of cancer research and support.

Throughout your involvement in the project, what are some key insights you've gained about community engagement and supporting cancer research?

Although we put a lot of effort into promoting the event and in trying to get the ISL community involved in our project, it was a challenge to put together two teams for the Relais but in the end we secured enough participants to meet the minimum requirements. 

Community engagement is a lot of work, but in the end after seeing what we were able to contribute to cancer research, it was very rewarding. We really hope that we have inspired more members of the ISL Community to participate next year in this event which is about hope, resilience, and the power of community. Mark your calendars for March 2025! 

What were some of the primary obstacles you encountered during the project, and how did you address them?

One of the primary obstacles was that, contrary to what we had thought, the Relais pour la vie was not very well known in the ISL Community. We addressed it by being present at various events at school and by promoting it in the ISL newsletter, Schoology, the US morning advisory slides and on the ISL TV screens.

Can you share a particularly meaningful moment or experience from your participation in the project?

The most emotional moment was the opening ceremony where cancer survivors shared their story of their fight against cancer. Another very moving experience was the cancer survivor tour where all the cancer survivors and their caregivers walked around the stadium. This made us realise who we were helping and showed us how much courage they had to fight cancer. It made us very proud and also very happy that our school community was contributing to this important national event. Being in the stands during the opening ceremony helps you realise that you are part of something bigger than yourself and your school.

What do you hope the broader school community will learn or take away from your engagement with the “Relais pour la vie”?

We really hope that the school community will see how rewarding an engagement in such a project can be, especially when the project benefits all the community. As we said before cancer can affect all of us. Hopefully, the ISL community will get more involved in the local community through events like these. 

How do you believe initiatives like yours contribute to building a more supportive and compassionate school environment, as well as broader community inclusion?

Well for starters, we believe that our initiative has raised the school’s attention towards the program so more people might have the idea of starting a CAS/Service learning project to help the fight against cancer or other serious illnesses. Our school’s involvement in the Relais pour la vie is truly an ISL community effort: students, current and retired staff, parents and alumni were all represented this year.

Looking ahead, do you have any intentions to continue your involvement in the “Relais pour la vie” or explore other related initiatives in the future?

Yes. Cancer research is very expensive and still a lot is needed to improve cancer prevention, detection, and treatment, ultimately saving lives and enhancing the quality of life for those affected by this disease. 

We extend our appreciation to Jaden and Travis for their dedication to the Relais pour la Vie project. Their story is a great example of student-led initiatives in fostering community support and raising awareness for critical causes like cancer research. Together, let's continue to unite for hope and make a difference in the lives of others.