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Montclair Public School Grade 7 student Michaela’s mother is a cancer survivor, so when her school decided to take part in a cancer awareness fundraiser last month, she couldn’t have been more excited or proud to participate.
She says her school has “worked so hard” to make people aware of cancer. “When we get our minds set on something, we just go for it to the maximum,” she says.
The Oakville school’s 470 Kindergarten-Grade 8 students and staff held a walkathon, called Montclair Can Stand Up To Cancer, on April 29. It involved students taking part in a morning presentation, including a pep rally from its spirit team, and then walking across the street to White Oaks Secondary School, where each grade walked around the school’s track for one hour. The weather was unseasonably cool but the spirits and passion for raising cancer awareness seemed to warm up those participating. Students wore the cancer awareness daffodil flower as they walked, ran and skipped around the 400-metre track.
Lead organizer, Grade 5-6 teacher Tiffany Dinning, says the event idea came from a conversation she had with staff and the principal about holding a spring fundraiser.
“After much thought and brainstorming, I approached staff on the concept of raising money and awareness for the cause of curing cancer,” she says, noting how supportive staff and students have been. “We discussed the experience of our own staff members who have lost husbands, wives, brothers and sisters to cancer. We informed students about several types of this disease as well as the treatment and impact on families.”
Dinning notes she is taking part in next month’s June Ride To Conquer Cancer benefiting the Toronto Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation Research.
Vice-principal Darlene MacDonald says Montclair and the surrounding community rallied around the walkathon. The walkathon had a fundraising goal of $2,500 but the school impressively more than doubled that, raising around $5,700.
“We had an uncle who came in to the school to say he had cancer twice and he donated $220 in the names of his nephews, so it was really incredible,” she says.
A group of 10 students helped out in a different way. They took part in a hair-cutting event called Locks of Love. It’s a public, non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss resulting from an illness.
The walkathon tied into the school’s curriculum. Each teacher was asked to speak about healthy living, identifying risk factors and influences on personal healthy living decisions, cancer and risk factors, and making good food choices by following Canada’s Food Guide.