Students raise cancer awareness

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, April 9, 2014

PRC students braved the elements to raise funds and awareness for Relay for Life. All proceeds were donated through to the American Cancer Society through the PRC High School Relay for Life Team. Jeremy Pittari | Picayune Item

Braving the elements: PRC students braved the elements to raise funds and awareness for Relay for Life. All proceeds were donated through to the American Cancer Society through the PRC High School Relay for Life Team.
Jeremy Pittari | Picayune Item

Michaela Williams and her mother Lisa Lee are in a war against cancer. It is strictly personal with the mother – daughter team and they are fighting to win.

As a former hospice nurse, Lisa Lee has shared the devastation that cancer has brought to the lives of her patients families with her children in open and frank discussions. Those discussions would later focus on their own loved ones as family member after family member was diagnosed and succumbed to the disease.

Lee said the family has been active in Relay for Life since her father was diagnosed with cancer when he was 47-years-old.

“My dad was diagnosed at 47-years-old, which is extremely young to be diagnosed,” Lee said. “He passed away on the evening of a Relay for Life event that I had chaired. I promised him in the emergency room that I couldn’t change things for him, but I would fight to change things for others.”

As a young girl, Williams did not completely understand the significance of Relay for Life. She viewed the disease as a big monster that a group of people could not defeat. This is something that she addresses on her Relay for Life fundraising page.

Williams said, “I can’t remember a time when someone I know or someone in my family hasn’t been battling cancer.  When I was young, I didn’t think the things we did as a family would help them, I just knew I didn’t want it to keep happening.

“I’ve come to realize how important Relay is to my family. I understand that my time is well invested when I work hard to help the American Cancer Society find a cure for cancer. I now understand that I am investing in my future … hopefully one that doesn’t include cancer.”

The pair have worked together to gather recipes for a Mississippi Relay Recipe Cookbook. They have sold 2,600 copies in the first six weeks throughout the state. They believe that will return $38,000 in profits to the American Cancer Society. Cookbooks are still for.

Students at Pearl River Center High School have also joined forces with Williams and Relay for Life.

Along with some of her school friends, Williams has flocked people’s yards with pink flamingos and this past weekend spent more than 22 hours perched on scaffolding to raise awareness and funds for Relay for Life.

While the school has not sanctioned the events, the students turn all of the funds into the Relay for Life team account through the school.  In exchange for their work with Relay for Life, the BETA Club is providing them with service hours.

“The school was not involved in the flamingos or the street fair fund raising,” Lee said. “Those were family events and the school was in no way responsible for our activities. We are doing what we feel is right and donating the proceeds to a great cause.”

At the street festival, Williams spent 22 ½ hours on the scaffolding, with total of 15 minutes in breaks on the ground. Her classmate Jenna Hahns stayed approximately 12 hours and another classmate, Chloe Clutter, stayed 8 hours.

“Michaela had originally intended to stay on a rooftop to raise money,” Lee said. “We had seen stuff online, but we could not find anyone who would allow us to use their roof downtown. So that is when we came up with the scaffolding.”

The group is available to flock yards upon request through May 3, for a $15 fee. They are able to be contacted by email at:  pinkflockers@gmail.com . Send payment and the address to be flocked. They also ask the flocking recipient to donate $15.

Also, on this Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. there will be a Spring Tea at PRC Elementary Cafeteria. For $5 a person people can come in costume and experience a tea served by Fairies of Hope.

All proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society Relay for Life  Pearl River Central High School Team.