Salisbury Academy students raise money, awareness for children's cancer
SALISBURY - Salisbury Academy students have joined NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jeff Gordon and schools from around the region in a campaign to raise money and awareness for children's cancer by participating in the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation Kick-It for Cancer campaign.
Despite medical advances, childhood cancers are the number one disease killer of children, more than AIDS, cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy combined. More than 13,500 children in the United States are diagnosed each year and 20 percent do not survive.
During physical education class at Salisbury Academy, teacher Tommy Wilson has discussed the Kick-It campaign and led the students in playing kick ball.
"We talked about cancer and how many people are affected by it," he said. "Every class had at least one student with a family member or friend with cancer and most classes had several. It hit home with the students that cancer doesn't just affect adults, but it happens in kids too."
Students were also encouraged to donate five dollars to the cause and in exchange enjoyed the privilege of a non-uniform day on Friday. Proceeds for this campaign benefit pediatric, adolescent and young adult cancer research. The foundation will match the more than $600 raised this week.
"The students have been very thoughtful in making their donations to help children with cancer. It is touching to see the students come together for a cause," said Diane Fisher, head of school.
Nancy Washko, cancer survivor and parent of two Salisbury Academy alumni, and her family brought the idea to the school.
Her daughter, Sam, 16, had leukemia as a child. She and her brother Matt, 14, attend Salisbury High school.
Nancy is passionate about campaigns like Kick-It for Cancer because of her experience with a child battling cancer.
"We saw a lot of kids pass away and at the time they (Sam and Matt) thought it was just part of life, but it shouldn't be part of life. It shouldn't be that way," she said. "It's near and dear to my heart because my children are near and dear to my heart. It's not something any family should go through, and I want to help to make sure that other families don't go through this."
Kick-It for Cancer was founded by a 10-year old cancer patient with a big dream to cure cancer by playing kickball. Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation began in 1999 by four-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jeff Gordon.
The mission is to support children battling cancer by funding programs that improve patients' quality of life, treatment programs that increase survivorship and pediatric medical research dedicated to finding a cure. To learn more visit www.kick-it.org.