Hillview School’s Relay for Life event raises $65,000 for American Cancer Society
Over 300 students raised $65,000 for the American Cancer Society as part of the 3rd Annual “Menlo Park Relay for Life – Hillview Edition” on Friday night, May 19. All funds raised go to the American Cancer Society to support research to find a cure for cancer and provide services — everything from wigs to wheelchairs — for people battling cancer.
More than 40 teams of students have worked over the last few months raising money through bake sales, walking door-to-door in their neighborhoods, contacting family near and far, reaching into their own piggy banks, and more.
At the event, the Hillview track was magically transformed (by volunteer elves!) into a peaceful purple and green neon haven and as kids began their journey and the sky turned dark, the lights continued to fluctuate as the participants wore team color-coded neon necklaces, headbands and bracelets.
Participants also drew an outline of their hand on a banner and wrote a pledge for how they would make healthy choices to prevent cancer
Black lights lit up tables and caught festive clothing as kids, parents and teachers walked or ran around the track all evening — way past most bedtimes!
By the end of the night, the track was outlined with luminaries that participants made complete with personal messages highlighted on each bag. Most of the kids collected a bead with each lap they took and looped it onto a piece of yarn and they had fun comparing their distances with one another. The student who walked the farthest did 50 +/- laps!
You can click here if you would like to make a donation to add to Hillview’s funds raised for the American Cancer Society.
Ms. Batiste, who teaches 7th and 8th grade English at Hillview and is the staff sponsor of the Hillview student service team, said: “Relay for Life is such a wonderful event, and it warms my heart to see students’ generosity on full display. This event is especially important to me because I have lost several grandparents to cancer.”
“I like Relay for Life because we give back to the community and help those who can’t afford cancer treatment, said Henry Shane, an 8th grader on the Service Leadership Team at Hillview. “It could save someone’s life.”
Although the event was focused on Hillview students and was not open to the general public, one team of students from Menlo Atherton High School’s Leo Club, a charter of the Lion’s Club, came early to help set up and participated in the event. One of the Leo club’s founders, Elise Kratzer, was an active member of the Hillview Service Team and has continued to support the Hillview Relay for Life as she has continued on to high school.
A few days after Hillview’s Relay for Life event, one of Hillview’s former staff members, Ernie Imura, passed away from pancreatic cancer. Ernie, affectionately known as “Mr. I”, was a beloved physical education teacher who worked at Hillview between the years of 1987 and 2012. Aside from a short hiatus, Ernie spent 20 years working at Hillview. Staff members had raised money and walked the Relay for Life event in Ernie’s honor.
Relay for Life started in 1985 with one person, Dr. Gordon “Gordy” Klatt, in Tacoma, Washington, and now takes place in 27 countries. The Hillview Middle School event is consider a pre-relay as a lead up to the 22 hour Menlo Park Relay for Life from Saturday morning, August 12 at 11am through Sunday morning, August 13 at 9am at Burgess Park.
If you would like to sign up to join the August Relay for Life in Menlo Park with a team from your company, neighborhood, or family, click here to join or contact our Menlo Park volunteer coordinator, Amy Boggs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gina Hart, Gina Parks, Lynn Auslander, Charea Batiste, Amy Boggs, and Elizabeth Ouren contributed to this article
Photos by Gina Hart and Elizabeth Ouren (photo of outlined hands)