Students and staff from Calaveras Hills High School are quite literally taking strides to combat cancer during this year’s Relay for Life on April 27-28 at Townsend Field in Santa Clara. The group of 15 students and multiple staff members has already raised $500, as of February 13.
The team is led by Cal Hills Principal Carl Stice as Team Captain and 2018 Relay alumni Destiny Peterson, Shaleah Taylor, and Flora Herrera as Teen Captains.
Fundraising kicked off with a community dinner, where the students explained what and why they are participating in the cause, and has also included speaking in front of the district’s administrators, selling luminarias, asking for donations from District Office employees, staff emails, and personal asks.
According to Tabitha Kappeler-Hurley, Cal Hills teacher and Relay coordinator, each team member is expected to raise at least $100 “so students will need to do some independent fundraising as well, which is a skill they are learning as part of the process.”
“We are proud of our students’ drive in supporting the work of cancer research; they are our leaders today and tomorrow,” said Superintendent Cheryl Jordan.
Last year, Cal Hills was one of the highest grossing teams for the 24-hour walking event that raises money and awareness about cancer prevention, research, and services through the American Cancer Society. They are hoping to make a large impact again this year.
“The American Cancer Society Relay for Life movement brings together 3.7 million people at events across the world to help save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer,” according to a Relay for Life proclamation. “...Thanks to funds raised through the Relay for Life movement, the American Cancer Society is able to attack cancer from every angle, delivering research breakthroughs, empowering people with resources and information, and convening community-based and national leaders who work tirelessly to create awareness and impact.”
It continues to state that thanks to funds raised through the event, there has been a 25 percent decline in the U.S. cancer death rates since 1991. Despite this, there is still more work to be done. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2017 alone, 1.6 million people were newly diagnosed with cancer in the United States.
Kappeler-Hurley said it is her 11th year participating in Relay for Life, and the cause is one that is incredibly important to her. She has lost multiple friends and family members, and have lots of family members who have dealt with cancer.
“Empowering students to take action against a disease that has hurt their families is very rewarding. It’s a real challenge to go out and fundraise and organize a team at their age. I am so proud of these students and the work they are doing!” Kappeler-Hurley added.
Stice found out he had squamous cell carcinoma in his throat and mouth in 2003, at the age of 33. Because it was an aggressive cancer, Stice had to undergo both chemo and radiation simultaneously. He was in treatment for five months. He has been cancer free since treatments ended in 2004. Many of our MUSD students and staff members have close ties to family members with cancer.
For more information or to make a donation, contact Kappeler-Hurley at (408) 396-7952 or visit the site.