SV Relay for Life called huge success

Published 10:07 pm Saturday, May 9, 2009

AID TOWNSHIP — Dorothy Mitchell said she enjoyed her visit to Symmes Valley Multi-level School Friday.

“I had a good time, had a good dinner — and today’s my birthday,” she said with a smile.

If she enjoyed her day with her granddaughters, Shannon Mitchell and McKayla White, they seemed to have enjoyed having her there just as much.

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It wasn’t just that Mammaw came to visit, it was why she came to visit and that she could come to visit in the first place. Dorothy Mitchell had a breast removed because of cancer four years ago.

But Friday, she walked with her granddaughters and other cancer survivors for a victory lap that was the grand finale of the fourth annual Symmes Valley Relay for Life.

“This means a lot,” Shannon Mitchell said. “My pappaw (Dorothy’s husband, William) died from cancer and he meant the world to me.” Having Mammaw visit as a cancer survivor became all the more special.

Not far away, Arthur Clark waited for his chance to walk in that survivors’ lap. He beat cancer nearly 10 years ago. His grandkids and great grandkids asked him to come. He came last year, too.

The day-long Relay for Life raises money for cancer research. Students walked laps around the parking lot, sold refreshments and even performed mini concerts, all with the purpose of bringing in those badly needed dollars.

Symmes Valley teacher Amy Ferguson said the cancer survivors were invited by students, the overwhelming majority of whom know someone who has battled some form of the disease. Eighth grader Kayla Hayes’ grandmother, Judy Mays, is a lung cancer survivor.

Fellow eighth-grader Caleb Holderby’s grandmother, Norma Holderby, died of cancer; a cousin, Cheryl Snow, is terminally ill now.

Symmes Valley has two students who are battling cancer, Irvin White and Dustin Galloway. Another student, Shane Ingles, is a cancer survivor. When he took that survivor’s lap he took it with friends.

The Relay for Life was proof positive that a small school district is very capable of very big successes if everyone is pulling in the same direction. In its first three years students, staff and the SV community have raised nearly $100,000 for cancer research and by the time those cancer survivors had taken their lap around the parking lot Friday, this year’s event had garnered more than $22,000.

“It’s amazing the amount of money that comes from this community — and the kids do it,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson and Bowling both said the Relay for Life is more than just a day out of class. It is a hand-on lesson about the importance of community service.

“I think it’s good for kids to learn everything is not all about them,” Bowling said. “I think this is as important as math.”