Defeat Is Sweet: Riverside Elementary Comes Together to Fight Cancer


Riverside Elementary Raises over $27,000 for Relay for Life

BY: Angela Veugeler

3rd grade teacher Lynne Franks show appreciation for everyone’ s hard work

Friday, April 3rd was a memorable day for Suwanee’s Riverside Elementary school students and staff. They spent the two weeks prior raising funds and preparing for a mini Relay for Life to honor friends and family that have fought or are currently fighting cancer, and benefit the American Cancer Society. 3rd grade teacher, Lynne Franks, is an avid supporter of Relay for Life, and helped organize the event. Franks said that she got the idea from B.B. Harris Elementary in Duluth, and worked with other teachers and administrators to create it at Riverside. “While the Relay for Life team at the school has put on various fundraisers, this time was different,”she shared. The school came together to really help the kids understand and relate to the fundraising event. They created a survivor video with Riverside students and staff who have survived cancer and played it during the morning announcements. Included in the video was Principal Ben Pope, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when he was 15 and underwent treatment for two years. Riverside lost one staff member this year to cancer. According to Franks, “the survivor video made the word ‘cancer’ so real to the kids. When teachers asked students if they knew anyone who has suffered from cancer, they were amazed at how many of our own family and friends are affected.

Excited students show their support

After two weeks of fundraising efforts, reflection and sharing , on April 3rd, students lined the playground track with decorated luminary bags to honor and remember their family and friends who have had cancer. They also wore their names on their backs as they walked. Tiffany Belflower, PTAVice President at Riverside, is at the school and involved with events on a regular basis. Belflower shared, “I am proud to bea part of Riverside Elementary School and everything that theydo. That being said, the mini relay for life is probably the neatest  thing we have ever done. The point behind it, the enthusiasm, the way the students all rallied and participated. It was truly an incredible thing to see.” 5th grade teacher Kyle Pullano kept the momentum going all day as DJ. Room moms and parents helped create costumes, banners and props. “It was a true example of what the RES family can do when called upon to help. What really made the day memorable is when three of our very own students walked the survivor lap. To see the respect that all of the students gave them was wonderful. We should all be truly proud of our children for what they did that day.”

Franks also stated, “It was a great event to bring our school together to fight for a cure alongside those who are affected. This was truly a characterbuilding event that brought out the best spirit from our students and staff members. Showing concern for others is a character trait that kids got to see in action.”

The school raised a total of $27,488. Riverside plans to make the mini Relay for Life an annual event.


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