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Relay for Life involvement spreads to youth

By Staff | Jan 30, 2019

Grant Harrison, age six, shows off the "love bug" he created for a cancer patient caregiver at the Relay for Life event last week. Toni Milbourne

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION — One is never too young to learn or to show compassion for others. The involvement of youth in the Jefferson County Relay for Life offers a way for youngsters to do both.

Each year, from January to June, the organizers of the county’s Relay for Life, offer monthly youth rallies to educate youngsters about the American Cancer Society, as well as to involve them in helping raise awareness and funds for cancer research and about local survivors and caregivers.

“The kids come, have fun and learn about Relay,” said Leader Heather Fauble during the Jan. 22 event at the Jefferson County School Bus Garage.

“The activities also help them build leadership skills for everyday life,” Fauble said. “It’s two-fold really, to build current leaders and future leaders.”

Held at the Jefferson County Schools Bus Garage in Bardane, the rallies are open to any youths between the ages of six and 18 who want to learn more about the American Cancer Society or Relay for Life.

At the event, the youth have stations around the room at which they create crafts for survivors and caregivers. They also learn different terminology relating to cancer, relay and more. At the Jan. 22 meeting, youngsters created “love bugs” for cancer survivors as well as bears for caregivers.

“We usually have 12-to-15, on average, attend,” Fauble said of the monthly rally.

The youngsters at last Tuesday’s gathering talked about caregivers, learning that they are the individuals who take care of a person with cancer. They learned the definitions of the terms “in honor,” “in memory” and “in support,” with regard to those who lost their battle with cancer, those who are still fighting and those who help take care of others.

These definitions were discussed in association with a fundraiser the youth will work on, between now and the February rally. Each child received a graphic with hearts, in which they will write the names of individuals either in honor, memory or support of, as they also solicit donations to go with those names. The goal for each child is to raise at least $15 before the February meeting.

“For every $15 you can raise, we will add $5 to your Relay total,” Fauble said, encouraging the children to think about from whom they could request donations.

The goal per child between now and the Relay for Life in June is to raise $100 to receive a special t-shirt to wear at the walk.

The Relay for Life in Jefferson this year has the theme: “All Star Relay: Crushing Cancer,” and will focus around any sports team, Fauble said.

The annual Relay for Life kick-off event that was scheduled for Jan. 19 was canceled due to inclement weather, but has been rescheduled for Feb. 23 in the Charles Town Baptist Church’s social hall, beginning at 2 p.m.