Left to right:  Bevis PTA Co-Chair Kim Nicolet , Bevis Staff Co-Chair Fasee Sollars,  Principal Tricia Simonsen, Team Member Sarah Grace Kennedy and Honorary Survivor Vincent Kennedy participate in the Mini Relay.

By Kris Martinez

Bevis Elementary School recently held its annual Mini Relay for Life to benefit the American Cancer Society. Modeled after the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, students, faculty and staff collected donations and walked laps around the Bevis Elementary campus. Students also had the opportunity to jump rope, shoot baskets, run an obstacle course and jump hurdles for a cure. The event raised more than $6,200.

“The mini relay at Bevis is a great community event that brings our students and our faculty and our community together to emphasize the importance of finding a cure,” explained Bevis Elementary Principal Tricia Simonsen. “To educate students on awareness and what they can do on their part to help try to make a difference really is what our goal is,” Simonsen added.

“We put it in line to have the children know that with their participation and dedication, they’re helping the American Cancer Society. Before the kids go out to walk, they know why they are there, what the money has helped, and what their dedication brings,” said Bevis Elementary Guidance Counselor Tara Baker. With the help of the PTA, which is instrumental in organizing the Mini Relay event and other fundraising efforts, the school has met its goal of raising $10,000 for the American Cancer Society.

American Cancer Society Community Representative Cathy Vallianatos praised Bevis for its efforts. “It means a lot coming from kids,” Vallianatos commented. She explained that in addition to funding cancer research, donations are used to make many valuable programs and free services available to cancer patients. Funded by the American Cancer Society, The Hope Lodge in Tampa provides free lodging to patients receiving treatment at the Moffitt Cancer Center.

Patients at the Hope Lodge have private rooms and access to a community kitchen for the duration of their stay. Other programs include Reaching Out to Cancer Kids (ROCK), which provides young cancer patients the opportunity to experience summer camp, and ROCK college scholarships which help offset the cost of college tuition for students affected by cancer.

Fourth grade student Danny Barron was proud to be a part of the Bevis Elementary Mini Relay for Life. “It was a great success. Every dollar that everyone donated helps,” stated Barron.

For information on programs and services or to donate to the American Cancer Society, visit their Website at  www.cancer.org.

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