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Pupils step out for Cancer Society

May 28, 2011
By WARREN SCOTT - Staff writer , The Herald-Star

FOLLANSBEE - Pupils and staff at Follansbee Middle School teamed recently to raise $2,109 for the Brooke-Hancock American Cancer Society as well as awareness of the annual event, which generates money for cancer research, education and patient services.

One of many Relays for Life held by the American Cancer Society throughout the United States, the Brooke-Hancock event will be held June 4-5 at Brooke Memorial Stadium.

But pupils at the middle school staged their own relay on May 6 through the efforts of Dave Secrist, a teacher at the school and co-chairman, with Paul and Tammy Hornick, of the Brooke-Hancock relay.

Article Photos

Warren Scott
WALKING?FOR?A?CAUSE — Pupils at Follansbee Middle School took laps around the Carlin Dodrill Field House to raise money for the Brooke-Hancock American Cancer Society Relay for Life. Through the walk, basketball and volleyball games pitting pupils against teachers, and an ongoing penny collection, the youth have raised more than $2,109 for the cause.

Past relay chair Della Serevicz, a cancer survivor, carried on the Relay for Life tradition of having cancer survivors in attendance at the larger relay take the first lap by taking the first lap around the school's Carlin Dodrill Field House.

Pupils in grades 5-8 followed, taking laps around the gym floor during the physical education classes.

The school also raised money for the cause on May 5 through admission to a basketball game pitting the school's boys basketball players against male faculty and its female basketball players against female faculty.

The faculty won both games, though the scores were very close, Secrist noted. The male faculty won their game with a score of 26-18, while the female faculty won with a 21-16 score.

Staff, pupils and visitors also have been invited to leave small donations in a penny jar at the school's office. The goal is to collect 1 million pennies, and Secrist estimates about 600,000 are in the jar now.

The collection will continue up to the day of the relay.

"Mr. Secrist tries to get all of the kids involved," said Makenzie Santoro, an eighth-grader who served as the mini-relay's student coordinator.

She was aided by Haley Law, a freshman at Brooke High School who returned to her former middle school to serve as junior chairman for the event.

The two had worked together to coordinate the school's relay last year.

Also assisting were members of the Brooke-Hancock American Cancer Society's Relay for Life committee.

Law said she also enjoys participating, with family and friends in the larger relay.

Like many, the two girls know someone who has battled cancer.

Law's grandfather died from cancer.

"My best friend's mom and grandmother had cancer, but they survived," Santoro said.

The annual event includes food, music and games as well as the lighting of luminaria in honor or memory of loved ones who have battled cancer and a short talk by someone whose life has been touched deeply by cancer.

Through the night, members of teams of students, co-workers, family members, church members and others take turns walking around the Brooke Memorial Stadium's athletic track.

Each pays a $10 entry fee to participate and many of the teams hold fundraisers prior to the event.

For more information about the Relay for Life, call (304) 919-3960 or (304) 737-3748.

(Scott can be contacted at

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