Teens team up to fight cancerAfter losing a friend to bone cancer and then having a scare with a benign tumor, Jenna O’Rourke took it upon herself to help the battle against the disease. So as a sophomore, she started the Rosemount High School chapter of High Schools Against Cancer in November.
By: Emily Zimmer, Rosemount Town Pages
After losing a friend to bone cancer and then having a scare with a benign tumor, Jenna O’Rourke took it upon herself to help the battle against the disease. So as a sophomore, she started the Rosemount High School chapter of High Schools Against Cancer in November.
Now as the school year approaches its end the group has grown and is gearing up to play an important role during Rosemount’s Relay for Life June 26 and 27. Jenna is the event’s chair. The group will help her plan and execute the events that will keep people walking and charged through the night.
A busy girl already, Jenna started the group as a labor of love. She said scientists are getting close to a cure and that it’s important to keep supporting the cause.
“People who have passion will make a difference,” she said.
She already is pressuring her sister Jamie, who will attend the University of Wisconsin-River Falls next fall, to start a Colleges Against Cancer chapter there if there isn’t one already. Jamie, a senior at RHS, is part of the High Schools Against Cancer group now.
The group started with three members and has already grown to 10. Jenna said most of the students who are in the group have been directly affected by cancer.
Because the group got started late in the year they didn’t get to do a lot of recruiting. Jenna hopes as word of the group spreads more students will get involved.
“We are starting off small but eventually we’ll grow and do more things we just need to get a crew together,” said Jamie.
Serene Senkler, a science teacher at RHS, serves as group advisor. She said although the group is small they are active.
“It’s really cool to see such a passionate group of kids,” said Senkler.
The students involved have dragged themselves out of bed once a month for 7 a.m. meetings. The group meets in the morning to avoid conflicts with other activities.
Over the year the group has done several fund raisers and projects to help the American Cancer Society and the Hope Lodge.
The Hope Lodge provides accommodations to cancer patients and their families while they are seeking treatment. The students have served several meals at the lodge.
With the relay quickly approaching Jenna said the students will meet more often. Through the Relay for Life Jenna said they hope to raise more money for the ACS and awareness about the disease. In addition to planning the events Jenna is helping recruit teams to walk in the relay.
She said they are trying to get athletic teams at RHS to walk and raise money. Jenna said they want to have a trophy that will go to the team that raises the most money.
This isn’t the best of years to be fund raising but Jamie said they have had some success. While not everyone can donate, Jamie said people can still do something.
“People don’t have to focus on giving money but supporting the cause,” Jamie said.
The Rosemount Relay for Life will be held June 26 and 27 in Central Park.