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Relay for Life Event: Eugene School District 4J Students Pay Tribute to Cancer Survivors

4J students from three different schools participated in the inaugural Relay for Life event in the district on Friday to pay tribute to both cancer survivors and those who have succumbed to the disease.

In Eugene, Oregon, students from elementary and middle schools took to the track at Howard Elementary School, walking to raise awareness about cancer and to honor individuals who have bravely battled the illness.

Before embarking on their walk, students from Kelly Middle School, Yujin Gakuen, and Howard Elementary placed personalized luminaires adorned with uplifting messages for survivors along the track.

Seventh and eighth-grade students from 4J schools initiated their section of the Relay for Life walk at approximately 11:30 am on Friday.

Their objective is to reach a fundraising target of 2,000 for the American Cancer Society. By Friday afternoon, they had already collected 1,095, halfway towards their goal, with fundraising efforts continuing until April 12.

Katie Hachimoto, the community service instructor at Kelly Middle School and the event organizer, shared that this Relay for Life event marks a significant milestone for Eugene School District 4J. Drawing from personal experiences with cancer within her family, she emphasized the importance of educating students about the impact of the disease. She highlighted how the students coming together on Friday created a sense of community around a meaningful cause.

“Part of community service is teaching students how to make a difference in their community. And so today I would love to be able to raise money for Relay for Life,” she expressed. “But teaching students, being out here, they’re supporting survivors, they’re supporting people who have lost others to cancer.”

Throughout Howard Elementary’s track, 4J students placed custom luminaires bearing messages of encouragement for cancer survivors.

Students like Tatsuhiro McCulloch and Jaimen Ava shared how their understanding of cancer and its effects deepened in preparation for the Relay for Life walk.

“In our advisory class they gave us a sheet of paper that tells us what all the ribbons meant and taught us about some people who survived,” Ava recounted.

McCulloch added, “Learning about cancer, a lot of people suffer from it. It’s really bad. I just think supporting people is really good though.”

The students have already raised over $1,000 for the American Cancer Society on Friday.

One attendee, Mary Rossiter, was invited by her granddaughter, a 4J student, to join the event. She revealed that her own daughter had battled six different types of cancer. Touched by the students’ efforts, she remarked, “Seeing these kids out here, enjoying themselves just warms my heart.” Rossiter stressed the importance of cancer screenings and encouraged open communication with healthcare providers to address any concerns promptly for early detection.