Local elementary schools raise money for cancer research

Published 10:18 pm Friday, April 21, 2017

Several elementary school across Selma came together Friday to have recess together while also fighting cancer.

The students participated in Relay Recess, part of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

They walked –– or raced –– around the track, played football, hula hooped, jumped rope and played Frisbee at Memorial Stadium, and cooled off with Kona Ice.

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“It’s a great way to get the kids educated and informed and let them learn at an early age what can be done as prevention and make them more aware of cancer itself and to make it less of a scary thing for them,” said Jeannie Smith, senior manager at Relay for Life in Northwest Alabama.

“[We want them to] have fun, get the point across and let them know what cancer is and let them know ways that they can actively themselves participate for prevention.”

Smith talked to the students about tobacco and the risks associated with using it, as well as making good choices with eating and exercise to stay healthy.

As Smith talked to them, she asked them different questions.

She asked if they had friends or family that had cancer, and many hands went up. She explained that’s the reason they were there walking for a cure.

Another time she asked if they knew friends or family that had beaten cancer, and again many hands flew up.

She then took the time to tell them it was because of their efforts, and many other people across the state and country that take the time to participate in the events and raise money at schools and work and individually, that people have beaten cancer.

Because of their donations, advancements have been made for medicines that help cure cancer, but she said there is still a long way to go.

Jennifer Hyche, a team captain for Clark Elementary, said she and Krystal Dozier came up with the idea together to combine all the schools, after having the event on a smaller scale the last few years.

“Cancer affects everyone and we wanted the kids to learn how to collaborate and come together and be as one,” Hyche said. “We’re not individual schools, we need to be working as one.”

Hyche said having the kids come out and play but also take the opportunity to talk with them about the disease is important in them keeping up with the fight as they grow.

“We want everybody to realize how important the fight is for cancer, because one day we don’t want to have cancer anymore,” Hyche said. “Our whole thing is celebrating more birthdays. We want everybody to celebrate as many birthday’s as they can.”

Hyche said the day was very successful and the children had a great time and they plan to continue the event in the future.

“They had a blast. The kids really enjoyed it,” Hyche said.

“We plan to continue this [each year]. It was a great success.”