Eastside students keep walking to help buoy Niles Relay for Life
By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Robin Carey, an Eastside School student, was among those in charge of two water barrels at Friday's Eastside Walk-A-Thon at the Niles High School track.
The first- through sixth-grade Eastside students walked to support the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, which takes place in July.
Relay for Life is a unique community event allowing individuals from all walks of life to join in the fight against cancer by walking to raise money.
According to the Relay for Life organization, the event is the most successful not-for-profit event in the country.
And the two yellow barrels, capable of holding four gallons of water each, were apparently enough to keep people hydrated during Friday's Walk-a-thon.
In addition to those helping out with water, 35 Eastside Student Council students also helped clean up the track during and after the event.
Pat Roggen, Eastside School fourth-grade teacher and one of the school's two Walk-A-Thon organizers, said this year's Walk-A-Thon is the school's 14th.
She said initially the school used the Walk-A-Thon to raise money for Habitat for Humanity, but in recent years they have used it to raise money for Relay for Life.
Roggen said around 350 students from Eastside walked in support of the relay Friday. The school has been able to raise able $2,000 each year for the event for the last few years.
She said to raise even more money, the students also had the option to pay $1 to wear a hat during the walk.
Lynn Yob, an Eastside School second grade teacher and the second half of the Walk-A-Thon organizing committee, said Eastside is the only school she knows of that does a Walk-a-thon before the actual Relay for Life.
She said the $2,000 they have raised in the past, and that they also aimed to raise Friday, is the amount needed to become a corporate sponsor and have the school's name printed on a Relay for Life t-shirt.
Fifth grader Juana Aguirre, who had time to make a stop during Friday's walk, said she is well aware of what the money they raise goes to.
Money, however, is no longer raised based on how many laps the students walk, but rather from donations they receive from people they approach before their Walk-A-Thon actually takes place, Roggen said.
Aguirre, who also walks in the Relay for Life, said walking, on top of the exercise she already gets through other school activities, is good exercise.
Some of the students who walked Friday will also take part in the Relay for Life later this year.