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More than a walk to remember (video)

By Carolina Astrain
May 4, 2013 at 12:04 a.m.

The Rowland Elementary spirit squad cheers at the Relay Recess event at Rowland Elementary.

HOW MUCH THE School RAISED

Rowland Elementary School raised $10,433.42 for the American Cancer Society through a Relay Recess event.

Valerie Hindley does well with teaching students about the simple facts of life when it comes to reading, writing and spelling - but cancer is a tough subject for the third-grade teacher at Rowland Elementary School.

The 36-year-old mother has had a rough time trying to explain her ex-husband's terminal brain cancer to their 7-year-old son, Hayden.

"He knows his dad is sick," Hindley said. "But he doesn't quite understand that he's not going to get any better."

Outside the walls of the Victoria school district elementary school, students and parents gathered with their teachers and administrators to honor two individuals who have fought through their cancer and are still living today.

Hayden's dad, Brad Hindley, 38, was one of them.

"I'm hoping this event brings Hayden the support and optimism he needs during this sad time," Hayden's mother said.

Back when his father was healthier, Valerie Hindley said, he used to volunteer as part of the school's Watch D.O.G.S. program, where father figures of the household patrol the hallways of the school to ensure student safety.

Rowland Assistant Principal Kelly Gabrysch introduced VISD to the American Cancer Society's Relay Recess event when she was an assistant principal at Schorlemmer Elementary School the year before.

The American Cancer Society was so impressed by the campus' efforts that they invited Gabrysch to speak in October about how the campus was able to raise more than $9,000 to the national cause.

At Rowland, Gabrysch said she hopes to continue the tradition.

Cancer affects almost everyone, Gabrysch said. "This even makes the cause more meaningful and real for our students."

By mid-April, Rowland had already raised more than $2,000 through mini-fundraisers leading up to the big day.

Hindley's ex-husband was diagnosed about a year and half ago, said Hindley.

"This is going to be really good for Hayden," she said. "It's all about knowing your loved one has achieved another year of life."

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