Schorlemmer's Relay Recess helps create more birthdays

April 30, 2012 at 5:04 p.m.
Updated April 29, 2012 at 11:30 p.m.

Students at Schorlemmer Elementary School reach out to each other in a sign of support for cancer survivors at the Relay Recess.

Students at Schorlemmer Elementary School reach out to each other in a sign of support for cancer survivors at the Relay Recess.   Frank Tilley for The Victoria Advocate

Leah and Bekah Hurt bounced with anticipation, their hands covering their gasps, until Grandma came close enough to hug them.

Each clinging to opposite sides of their grandmother, the sisters welcomed her to Schorlemmer Elementary School's Relay Recess.

"I wanted her to come because I knew she's a survivor of cancer," Bekah, 8, said about her grandmother, Linda Inglis, who drove in from Houston for the event.

Schorlemmer Elementary students were out in full force Monday morning, celebrating cancer survivors and contributions to cancer research. The Relay Recess brings the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life event into elementary schools, giving kids a chance to get involved in creating "a world with less cancer and more birthdays," as Schorlemmer's event boasted.

"When we asked them, 'How many of you know what cancer is?' every kid raised their hand," said Monica Caudillo, with the Victoria-area American Cancer Society. "We're working toward a world in which our youth, when they hear the words 'You have cancer' - it's not a death sentence."

With more than 2,300 luminarias sold in honor of loved ones, Principal Lynne Guerra said the reach of cancer, even just at Schorlemmer, was clear. The school's student council came up with the idea of doing an event to benefit cancer research, and with that, one of only four Relay Recesses in Texas was underway.

"We've done Relay For Life several times, but this one is really special for the kids to be involved," said Inglis, who was diagnosed with cancer in 1981 and 1992. This year will mark 20 years since she's beat the disease, which Inglis said she was diligent enough to catch early.

Along with raising money for research, the Relay Recess served as an opportunity to educate students on cancer prevention. Leading up to and after the event, students learned about the perils of tobacco, the importance of sunscreen and how to lead an active life complemented by a healthy diet.

To upbeat music blaring outside the school, students rotated between stations that offered fruit snacks, karate lessons and zumba dancing, among other things.

Plus, at all times, a group of students from each grade was walking around the track outlined by the luminarias.

Inglis and her granddaughters were some of the first to beat the path during the survivors' lap.

With their hands wrapped up in their grandmother's, Leah and Bekah held their heads high and marched their grandmother in front of their peers, who were cheering along the the track.

They hadn't even known their grandmother was a cancer survivor until this event brought up the opportunity for their family to discuss it. The summers, the playing in the rain, the beach trips and all-around "mischief" with grandma and grandpa - also a cancer survivor - will likely mean more now.

"Just to know that my grandma was a survivor and that some people die because of it..." Leah, 9, trailed off.

She held tighter to her grandmother now and said she was proud to be able to walk with her.

Inglis, this time doing the squeezing, teared up with happiness.

"It's an honor," she said.



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