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Running for a reason
Sequoia Middle School turns pink
Pink was the color of choice Friday at Sequoia Middle School.
Wearing everything from pink shirts to pink ribbons to dyed pink hair, the majority of the 505 student population at the school ran a mile to raise money and awareness for cancer research.
Coordinated by students Bryn Short and Brayden Leyva, the event raised more than $1,500 for Sierra View District Hospital’s Roger S. Good Cancer Treatment Center.
With a theme of “Leaders in Life,” the school-wide event demonstrated some of the school community’s beliefs — creating opportunities, working together, sharing ideas, and offering help — said school Principal Joe Santos.
“Every one in the school ran one mile and everyone donated money to give to the Roger S. Good Treatment Center,” Santos said. “It was one of our goals in the event that every body should do something rather than a few people doing a lot. That was important to us.”
Starting with an assembly, the student body listened to a panel consisting of three individuals who have been touched by cancer in one way or another — Crystal Davis, the director of the cancer treatment center; Virginia Gurrola, Porterville Mayor; and John Snavely, Porterville Unified School District Superintendent.
“There’s been a lot of excitement for this project. It’s good to know that money we raised is helping people we know here in Porterville,” Short said.
A question-and-answer segment with the guests on the panel followed.
David explained the goal of the Cancer Treatment Center, Gurrola talked about the affects of cancer on the family and on the economy, and Snavely talked about the Pathway’s Porterville Health Academy.
All three also talked on how they were affected by loved ones with cancer, and Davis offered suggestions on how to support patients with cancer.
“Call them. Laugh with them. Check on them,” she said. “The best way to stay strong is by relying on loved ones for life.”
She also offered tips to the young students.
“The most important thing I can tell you is ‘Don’t Smoke.’ Eight of 10 smokers’ health issues are cancer related,” Davis said. “Choose good habits. Have healthy lifestyles.”
Gurrola talked about the city’s annual City of Hope fundraising event.
“I can’t say enough on how we need to stop this disease,” she said.
As the panel came to a close, the students headed to the playground to begin their run.
One of the first few students to run in under an arch of pink balloons was Cruz Anguiano, a member of the school’s cross country team.
Sporting a streak of pink hair, Anguiano said his family had not been hit by cancer, but his sister’s best friend’s mother, had.
“It’s great to see kids this committed,” Davis said. “We are thankful to this community for helping out a cause like ours. Our community outreach program is made possible by eents like these, and helps us further educate people.”
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.