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Mini Relay for Life raises awareness, dollars for cancer research


900 students participate

by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Daniel Watson, front, seventh grade, leads a group of enthusiastic walkers during last Friday's Mini Relay for Life event.Lake Oswego Junior High School’s 900 students last week affected the lives of people suffering from cancer.

Students, parents and school staffers banded together for the first Mini Relay for Life in the school district last Friday at Lake Oswego High School’s track. The gathering of about 1,000 people raised $5,000 for the American Cancer Society, which supports cancer research, patient services, treatment and education.

The mini relay was similar to a regular Relay for Life event, during which people walk or jog around a track for 24 hours. But the junior high’s event was during the day only, and it was mainly students burning calories on the track.

The event included activities such as a tug-of-war, a walk for survivors, survivors sharing their struggles with cancer and quizzes on how to protect oneself from skin cancer.

The goal was $17,000, and donations still are being accepted today, said Carrie May-Varas, an event organizer and Lake Oswego Junior High parent.

“People were asking me, did you raise $17,000?” May-Varas said. “And I focus on the fact that we’ve raised awareness about cancer to over 1,000 people.”

The final donation tally for the benefit will be announced at the school this Friday. Classes also will find out if they collected the most dollars in their grade level. If they did, they will celebrate with a root beer float party.

Some school employees said they would dye or shave their hair if students reached certain fundraising goals, but employees are off the hook — for now.

“We’ve already got the principal to agree to next year, so (there’s) lots of excitement,” May-Varas said.by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Max Chu, seventh grade, bats a beach ball as groups compete to keep the ball in the air as long as they can.