For 9-year-old Jeremiah Bethel it’s his aunt. She died of cancer, so Bethel made a sign in her honor, and along with his classmates at Oxford Elementary, took part in the school’s Relay for Life Walk on Friday.
Bethel joined hundreds of kids, all holding signs with messages for cancer survivors and in honor of those that have died, as they walked around the school in a show of support.
The event was the capstone of a campaign that raised $3,000 for the American Cancer Society this year. It’s something the school does each year, said Principal Debora Nelson.
All the effort has special meaning for Oxford kindergarten teacher Natalie Wilson, who along with her fellow kindergarten teacher Lynn Stuebing organized this year’s fundraising.
Wilson’s 6-year-old son, Stephen, held up his sign in honor of his “pawpaw,” Wilson’s father, who is currently undergoing treatment for cancer.
“That was one of my main objectives for doing it this year,” Wilson said.
“It’s touched everyone in some way,” Stuebing said, wearing a T-shirt designed by Wilson and the students in Oxford High’s graphic design class. The shirts, printed with cancer awareness ribbons, were sold throughout the year as part of the fundraiser.
Kids bought feathers before Thanksgiving. The administrator with the most feathers bought in his or her name had to wear a turkey costume. Nelson won. Gold coins were sold around St. Patrick’s Day, and the winner, assistant principal Darryl Spradley, donned a leprechaun’s garb.
Standing with a crowd of students outside the school Friday, Jud Grass, 10, said two family members and two friends of his family have died of cancer.
“It feels very good to help people with cancer, and honor the memory of everyone,” Grass said.
Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.