Lakeland goes pink for a cure

Published 10:46 pm Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Students at Lakeland High School came out in full force on Friday to show their support by wearing pink for a cure for breast cancer. The “pink out” is just one of the many activities students are doing to increase awareness and raise funds for a cure.

A sea of pink flooded Lakeland High School on Friday.

Students and teachers wore pink T-shirts, pink pants, pink shoes and pink French-cuff shirts. Some girls even dyed their hair pink.

The color was symbolic of the dedication and support students and faculty alike are putting into raising funds for a breast cancer cure during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

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“Our goal is to create as much awareness and raise as much money to support a cure for breast cancer as we can,” said Shannon Harris, student council administration president. “We want to honor, and show our care and support for those going through this. Everyone here has been so responsive.”

The SCA raised about $250 selling $1 bracelets at the school’s football game on Friday. They also organized a “pink out” to have students wear pink to school, a “hat day” that has students and faculty paying to wear hats inside the building and three faculty “jeans days” in November, for which faculty will pay for the privilege to wear blue jeans to work.

All funds will be donated to the Tidewater Susan G. Komen for a Cure affiliate.

“The kids got excited about it the minute it was suggested,” said Carrie Casagrande, sponsor of the SCA. “Every kid on the council wanted to be on a committee, and they were all there at the first meeting. They showed so much dedication pulling this together.”

Other student organizations are getting into the act, too. The English Honor Society is also organizing a “pink out,” and the service learning class picked cancer as one of its main topics for the year.

The service learning class project stemmed from an individual student’s project that the rest of the class rallied behind.

“It was entirely their idea,” said Cathy Williams, the class teacher and a four-time cancer survivor, which her students did not know about at the time. “At their age, it’s good for them to have guidance to think outside themselves. A disease like cancer can be difficult for them to understand. I think the class has been eye-opening for them. It’s evident in the work they’re doing.”

For the students at Lakeland, a reason to fight for a cure hits home.

“Since I’ve been here, three of our own teachers have battled breast cancer,” said India Meissel, a Lakeland teacher who helped the SCA with its ideas and plans. “Two have survived their breast cancer battle and one is still battling.”

That one is English teacher Debbie MacInnes, who continues to teach her classes this year. She explained to her students at the beginning of the semester that she will be “disappearing” four times this semester, from Thursday through the following Tuesday, to receive treatments.

“I can’t believe she’s still here teaching classes,” said Shelby Christenson, a student of MacInnes. “She’s a very strong woman to come to work and go through something like that. I’m sure it’s tough, but it’s great to see Miss Mac still fighting. It teaches us a lot.”

After her teacher’s diagnosis with breast cancer, Shelby discovered that several of the women in her family have been affected by the same disease.

“I want to see students become more aware,” MacInnes said. “I hope they go home and talk about it with their own family and ask if they’re getting their mammograms and taking care of themselves. If we can save just one person through increased awareness, it’s worth it.”