Two teenagers from Hanson High School near Mitchell are making a difference in the fight against cancer. Nancy Naeve Brown tells us they turned a tragedy into a learning experience that raised awareness and money.
Courtney Tobin and Karissa Jarding are not only seniors at Hanson High School, they're charitable entrepreneurs. Seniors at Hanson are required to do a senior project that affects at least 15 people in the community. With the guidance of their project mentor Lori Lanners, the two girls partnered to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. It's a very personal and still painful cause for Courtney.
Courtney says, "I picked it because my Aunt was diagnosed with it and she fought it for 3 1/2 years so I got to see first hand the struggles."
Sue Bender from rural Fulton lost her battle with breast cancer in August 2007. She was only 42.
Lori Lanners says, "I think they think cancer is something that affects older people. Maybe when you get 60 or 70 that's the people it affects. It's not. It's a mom, a sister, an aunt; everyone is affected by breast cancer.
Sue worked as a nurse at Avera Queen of Peace in Mitchell so the girls wanted the money to come back to the Cancer Care Foundation. Since October is breast cancer awareness month they focused their fundraising efforts at sporting events during that month. The football team was tough in pink and the players bought pink roses to present to their moms on the field. The volleyball team sported pink jerseys and survivors in the crowd lit candles.
Karissa says, "We went around to businesses in Alex and Mitchell and asked for donations. We did a silent auction at each Hometown Pink night. We did a 50/50 raffle, different activities like face painting; nail painting, best dressed contests."
One of the fundraiser's the girls did is to sell t-shirts. They sold them for $15 and they designed them too. The front says: Spread the Hope, Find a Cure. The back says Hope for the Fighters, Peace for the Survivors, Prayers for the Taken.
Avera Queen of Peace Cancer Center Director Charlene Berke says, "It's fantastic what they did."
The girls raised $2,670 and through that money 274 people were screened more than a thousand educated.
Charlene says, "With how tight health care dollars are to be able to find the money to be able to offer these screenings is a challenge so by having great partnerships with places like Hanson High School is incredible how much it can help."
Two girls with the backing of the Alexandria, Fulton and Mitchell communities turned a tragedy into a triumph for breast cancer screening and awareness. I'm not their teacher, but I gotta think they are looking at A's (for their project) because they are nothing short of amazing.
For more information on the Cancer Care Foundation or screenings available at Avera Queen of Peace Hospital go to http://www.avera.org/queen-of-peace/index.aspx