Worcester Elementary Holds First Cancer Awareness Day

The event included teacher donations to Locks of Love and a school-wide donation to Alex’s Lemonade stand.

Although it only took a few seconds for their hair to be cut, the students at Worcester Elementary School learned a very valuable life lesson.

“We’re trying to teach the kids about empathy,” Stephanie Cohen, Worcester Elementary School first-grade teacher, said. “We want to show them that there are ways to help those affected by cancer.

Cohen, along with fellow Worcester Elementary teachers, Pat Karsch, Nadine Solecki and Becca Flaherty, volunteered to participate in the school’s first Cancer Awareness Day, Oct. 19, by donating their hair to Locks of Love.

For the event, all 418 Worcester Elementary students gathered in an assembly in the gym. Stylists from La Vita Bella Salon and Day Spa in East Norriton, doubled as volunteers at the event and made quick work of the instructors’ hair.

As each instructor showed off their new hairdos, their students wildly cheered.

I feel great, and I feel proud,” Cohen said.

According to Cohen, at the start of the school year, several faculty and staff mobilized when they heard a member of the school community had been diagnosed with cancer.

In September, the faculty and staff began to plan an event that would become the school’s first Cancer Awareness Day. By Oct. 15, the school had distributed a worksheet to all its students.

The two-page worksheets had printed on them the ribbons and various colors associated with the fight against and support for those with certain types of cancer. According to www.choosehope.com, there are at least 27 such ribbons.

The second page was a large, blank ribbon, which students, as well as faculty and staff, were asked to color if they knew anyone with the associated cancer. Students that participated in with the worksheet were asked to bring in $1 on Oct. 19, as part of a fundraising effort for the Cancer Awareness Day event.

On the day of the event, every student brought in a paper with their colored ribbon, but they did not raise $418.

They raised $545.

“I’m very proud of the kids and the staff,” Bruce MacGregor, principal of Worcester Elementary, said. “This is a push in character education and experiencing empathy.”

The money raised went to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a national organization dedicated to helping find a cure for all children with cancer. As part of the school event, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation gave a video presentation during the assembly.

The video was a telling of the children’s book “Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand,” in which the story of Alex and how she was able to inspire the nation to help raise funds towards cancer research, when, at the age of 4, she opened up her own stand.

“We think it’s really important to know there’s a way to get involved no matter how old you are,” Jackie Gear, Alex’s Lemonade Stand representative, told the students.

Gear, along with fellow representative Joey Butler, shared Alex’s story at the Cancer Awareness event.

According to Butler, there are over 6,000 lemonade stand fundraisers made each year across the country. She said that it was a pleasure coming to Worcester Elementary School for the first time.

“It’s absolutely amazing, because it’s always good to spread the word, to hear kids helping kids and creating awareness and raising funds for child cancer research,” Butler said.


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