Melrose kicks off Relay fundraiser

CNJ staff photo: Gabriel Monte Melrose school teacher Cheryl Henrichs holds up a banner awarded to students who organized last year’s American Cancer Society Relay For Life in Melrose. The students raised about $10,000, which is equivalent to $133 per student. Their efforts put them i

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

Madeline Wymer sat down with her family Monday for a soup and salad dinner at the Melrose school cafeteria.

Later, the 4-year-old and other diners in the cafeteria put on a purple shirt that had “Survivor” printed on it.

Like them, Madeline is a cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with a tumor two years ago, said her father David Wymer. Her tumor was removed, he said, and so far there is no sign of it.
Wymer and his family came to the dinner for the Melrose school’s Family, Career Community Leaders of America fundraising campaign kickoff for the American Cancer Society.

The group of seventh- to 12th-graders is organizing its second Relay for Life, according to faculty adviser Cheryl Henrichs. Participants in the event will walk around the school’s track and field oval from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. the next day.

“Walking overnight is symbolic (because) cancer never sleeps,” said Henrichs, who lost her mother to cancer in 2002.

The group raised about $10,000 in last year’s campaign, which is equivalent to $133 per student. The group’s efforts earned them the highest award for the regional youth-organized relays in the west, according to regional relay council member Kay Prater. She said the group was ranked fifth in the nation for money raised by student-organized relays in schools with less than 1,000 students.

Wymer said he will participate in this year’s relay scheduled for April 18.

“We know what families go through when someone they love has cancer,” he said .“Anything we can do to find a cure for cancer is worth it.”

The group also held a cake auction after the dinner and raised about $1,250, according to Kay Prater. The event also raised about $250 from individual donations.