On Friday, May 18, 200 high school students began the Sixth Annual 24-Hour Relay to raise awareness and money for cancer-related causes in Japan. One of these causes is the Shine On! Facility Dog Program based out of the Shizuoka Children’s Hospital and Kanagawa Children Medical Center. Warren Lavender (high school counselor) writes on this year’s relay.
Kicking-off a the non-stop 24-hour relay, the entire high school faculty and student body joined relayers for the first 30 minutes of the walk. Also participating in that first half-hour, elementary school faculty and students had an opportunity to support the cause. The elementary schoolers brought an added an energy to the relay that needs to be bottled. Three additional special guests included the Shine On! service dog, her handler and the head of Shine On!, who led the start of the relay after accepting a gift basket of dog treats from the elementary school student council. Middle school faculty and students joined in as their scheduled allowed.
After all was said and done, students raised over ¥3 million and had a great time. The best and most poignant part of the relay was at about 3am when junior Elina Garone said, “I’m tired and sore, but I guess that’s nothing compared to what the kids with cancer go through.” She continued walking laps into the night.
A special thanks goes out to Fight On! leaders, juniors Dean Hahne, Val Grespan, Millie Kobayashi and Ariel Fuchs, who took the lead in organizing this year’s walk. It has been amazing to see them grown as leaders and problem solve when things don’t go as planned, which is often. We’d also like to thank Sheri Neal (high school counselor) and Julie Rogers (high school teacher), who prepared and served hundreds of meals and midnight snacks for our ravenous participants including 600 pieces of pizza, 500 pancakes and a few hundred hamburgers and hot dogs.
And finally, a big thanks goes out to the faculty and staff who walked, acted as chaperones and assisted with logistics and cleanup.