Armstrong, Cooper high school students commit to fight cancer

Robbinsdale Area Schools Relay for Life 2015. (File photo)

Cancer knows no boundaries. It knows no race, creed, religion or gender.
That is why people like Cooper and Armstrong high school students are fighting back by raising money and awareness.
On Saturday, May 20, students will flock to Cooper’s outdoor track for Relay for Life, a 12-hour overnight fundraising event for the American Cancer Society.
“This allows students to be a part of something bigger than just themselves or their high school,” said Cami Dahlstrom, a 13-year Cooper biology teacher and Relay for Life faculty advisor. “They can see the survivors and the impact they are making when relay begins. It shows students that regardless of their age, they can make a huge difference on members of our community.”
The event begins at 6 p.m. with an opening ceremony followed by the survivors’ and caregivers’ lap.
At 9 p.m. the luminaria bags lining the track will be lit and attendees will honor and remember those who lost their battle to cancer.
At 5 a.m. students celebrate all they have accomplished.
In the time between each ceremony are activities for guests and students to enjoy.
Community hours, 6-11 p.m., will include carnival games, bake sales, photo booths and a silent auction.
After the gates close, participants and chaperones will participate in zumba, capture the flag, tug of war, yoga and a midnight mile.
For eight years Cooper has hosted the annual event. In 2012, Armstrong joined the event.
Dahlstrom was inspired by the students to participate. She recalled the students calling her on maternity leave and asking if she would be their faculty advisor for the event.
“Who am I to stand in the way of students wanting to raise money to fight cancer?” she asked.
She said she lets the students make all the decisions.
“I am just here as an advisor,” she said.
This year’s event will be a somber one for Dahlstrom, whose mother-in-law was diagnosed a week after attending last year’s Relay for Life and died six months later.
“In the beginning it was all about paying it forward and helping student who wanted to help others,” she said. “Now, I have a different reason to relay. I relay in memory of my mother-in-law and try to help other families avoid what we have been through this past year. When I see the impact Relay has on students every year, it confirms for me I am doing what is best for all our Robbinsdale students.”
This year, the students hope to raise $70,000. As of 11 a.m. Friday, May 12, the 605 registered participants had raised $46,800.
For more information, visit relay.acsevents.org.

Contact Gina Purcell at gina.purcell@ecm-inc.com.