The event began with Superintendent Heather Baker
giving an opening speech, encouraging the students assembled in the
gymnasium. She said, “The school will be walking together to make a
difference in the fight against cancer. We are determined that those
with cancer will not be forgotten.” Students talked about helping
people get well and fight back and cheer them as they go.
Superintendent Baker then presented Caroline Motley, her neighbor
and Relay for Life volunteer with a $503.38 check in honor of
Motley’s husband who passed of cancer.
Jannelle Jennings and Esther Boward
Motley, Boward and other survivors who were present
were then invited to take the first lap around the gymnasium.
Caregivers joined in the second lap. Then all the students joined
the walk for the third lap.
“Relay for Life is an annual event and started 10 years ago (at WLB),”
said Baker, “We have many faculty who have gotten cancer and we want
to educate the students and raise money each year.” “During the last
three to four weeks, the students would bring in their spare change
and give it to the cancer fund,” Mrs. Baker said, “They were very
excited about raising the money. They even looked on the playground
for spare change.”
Following the speech the students divided into groups to participate
in the activity of making pipe cleaner bracelets with Esther Boward
and Caroline Motley.
Caroline demonstrated that the white beads placed on
the bracelet became a bright pink under the hot condition of the
sun. She said, “you can protect yourself from the sun, that can
cause cancer, by wearing short sleeve shirts and a hat. Sun block is
helpful, but remember to apply it 20 to 30 minutes before going
outside for it to block out the sun.” She also mentioned that
sunglasses were important to wear to protect your eyes.
In a room down the hall, volunteer Janelle Jennings
gave a small lesson to the students to educate about the effects of
cigarette smoking. She said a pack of cigarettes that cost $8 would
end up costing you $2,000 a year.
[to top of second column]
The elementary students concluded you could buy new
clothes, a car, a fridge, get rid of a debt, but probably not a 'Lambo'
(Lamborghini), instead of smoking.
Janelle said that seven minutes of your life is taken from smoking
one cigarette. That is 51,000 minutes in a year. If that is not
fatal enough - fifty people die an hour from smoking and on the
average, they die 13-14 years before non-smokers. One out of five
deaths are from smoking.
Jennings then gave a small quiz to the students.
Here are three of the questions:
1. Does smoking affect the lungs, bladder, or bone marrow?
Answer: It affects all of these things in your body.
2. Do you actually relax when smoking?
Answer: No. Smoking triggers stress when the nicotine addiction
wears off. Then you feel relaxed when you need another cigarette and
get nicotine again.
3. What addictive chemical is in cigarettes? Is it lead,
formaldehyde, or carbon monoxide?
Answer: All of these are in cigarettes.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), 80 percent of
smokers start before the age of 18.
With the Tobacco 21 Law passed in Illinois one would think smoking
has decreased, but no. Juules are hot on the market and replacing
cigarettes. Janelle said, “The terrible thing about them is that
smoking a juul is the equivalent of smoking 20 cigarettes at a time.
And be sure to know that vaping is just another form of concentrated
nicotine inhaler and is very addictive.”
Janelle said to be sure to watch closely the television
advertisement about juuls. It is deceiving and nicotine is a drug
that can cause cancer. She commented to the class, “ If you don’t
smoke and the next class doesn’t, and the next, then we can save
many lives from cancer.”
Quitting smoking is not easy and many students showed a real
interest and hope that their loved ones will quit. The students
asked what to replace cigarette smoking with, and Janelle answered
to chew nicorette gum, drink water, eat twizzlers or pretzel sticks.
Most of all keep your hands busy.
The math teacher, Mrs. Mammen admonished, “Now we can predict when
you will die if you smoke. Almost up to the day. So why not save
your life! Save your money!”
Janelle Jennings is also involved with 'Schools versus Cancer' that
is a subprogram within schools where money raised is donated to
Relay for Life and given to help all cancers and given to medical
In an LDN 2018 article, Janelle Jennings said that ACS helps to make
important advances in prevention, early detection, treatment, and
care through proceeds donated. Relay for Life is designed to
accelerate progress for cancer - all cancers - ACS will double their
annual research investment to $250 million by the year 2021.