WEST ALEXANDRIA — Preble Shawnee FFA held its fifth annual mini Relay for Life on Friday, May 12.
The students host the event to raise money for their team at Preble County’s Relay for Life on June 10. According to FFA Advisor Sarah Flinn, this event is a way to remind the students of what cancer survivors and patients go through every single day.
According to Flinn, the event was not meant to be a full-scale Relay, but rather a way for the students to raise money for their team which will participate in Preble County’s Relay for Life. The students raised money through t-shirt sales and lunch, which will go to the county’s event and eventually be donated to the American Cancer Society.
Flinn said, “The students pay $10 for their t-shirts and then they get out of school for the day. We have activities for them to play. Then we invite community members who are cancer survivors, who have been touched by cancer, or who just want to come and help. All of our teachers help out here as well with organizing the games and keep track of all the students.”
The event kicked off with a speech from cancer survivor Nancy Boice, who told her story about her diagnosis and fight with cancer. She started her first treatment in June 2013. She took suggestions from others to minimize side effects of chemo therapy, which got her through the nausea, weakness, fatigue, and other side effects she recalled “sucked.” She knew she was going to lose her hair, so she had her granddaughters cut it for her.
She had to do three types of chemo every three weeks for six treatments. When that was done, she had to get her surgery done within a month. She had a double mastectomy and turned 50 around the same time. Later tests would show no cancer, but she continued with one chemo drug for a year. At the time time of her last treatment, she could not have it because it was affecting her heart.
She said, “I tell everyone that I was the lucky one, because I did not have to do radiation, due to the choice I made doing the mastectomy. A lot of people with breast cancer have to take a drug for five years, but the type of cancer I had I did not need to do that either.”
“My favorite words out of this is to always have hope and always be positive,” she added. Boice is scheduled to get her chemotherapy port removed in August of this year.
According to Flinn, the kids “love” getting out of school for the day, playing games, and walking the track, but she enjoys the event because it reminds the students of what cancer victims go through on a day to day basis.
“I think this is good for the school and community because a lot of these kids know people who have had cancer,” she said. “It’s a good reminder to them of what these people have been going through with their cancer treatments and their life afterwards.”
She added, “It’s also promoting healthy lifestyles, which is part of cancer prevention, part of making sure that they’re staying healthy and that they’re being active as well.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH