04/14/09 — Fremont STARS Relay for Life

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Fremont STARS Relay for Life

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on April 14, 2009 1:47 PM

FREMONT -- Joy Vinson, the art teacher at Fremont STARS Elementary School, was asked to be the captain of the school's Relay for Life team this year.

But she wasn't quite sure if she could do it.

In 2007, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and has been working to strengthen her body ever since.

She is currently in remission.

So when the question was asked about the Relay team, she hesitated, but decided this would be the year she would do it.

"I started going to all of these meetings, and I had no idea what (the other team captains and Relay volunteers) were talking about," she said. "Most of them had done it before, and I hadn't."

She said she got a little "overwhelmed," and thought she had to take on the responsibility of raising all of the funds by herself.

But then she realized she had a team behind her.

"Teachers came to me and told me they would help," she said. "They came up with ideas on how to raise money. That's when I realized that I could delegate, that I had people to help. And then I thought, 'OK, I can do this.'"

The cause is a very personal one to her -- not only has she experienced battling the disease, but her father is currently fighting it.

The team currently has more than 30 members, and more and more have decided to join -- a large number for a school with about 50 total personnel.

"We wanted to show the community that we want to help," Ms. Vinson said.

Susan Boswell, the fifth-grade teacher at the school, is one of the team members.

"This is such a close-knit community," she said. "Everybody pulls together and helps each other out."

Most of the members of Fremont's group, like many other Relay teams, have had cancer or know someone who does.

To the teachers at Fremont, that's the best reason to help raise money to help find a cure.

In the past two months, Ms. Vinson said she has heard many a story come from a Fremont STARS facility member about their family's battle.

"One teacher lost her husband to cancer. One lost her mother. Another has a nephew who is 6 years old who was just diagnosed with cancer," she said.

"We've all lost someone to cancer," Ms. Boswell said. "There are a lot of personal connections with cancer here. It's touched us all in some way."

"People who have fought or are fighting cancer are all around," said Cathy Cogdell, the school's physical education teacher.

The team's goal for this year is $2,000.

"I didn't want to have a goal that we couldn't meet," Ms. Vinson said.

And the team still needs help.

The teachers tell the children that they can help anyway they can.

"It doesn't matter how much they bring," Ms. Boswell said. "It can be 25 cents."

"Two-thousand dollars or $1 -- it might be that $1 that finds a cure," Ms. Vinson said.

"All that matters is that everybody's helping," Ms. Boswell said.

Ms. Cogdell said students don't even have to give money. They can give their time.

"It teaches them to be selfless and to think of others before themselves," she said of the children.

If you would like to donate money or help with the school's Relay for Life team, call the school at 242-3410.