By Anne Calos
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Shouts of “Toon Out Cancer” echoed through the halls of Lockport City schools Friday as the district celebrated “Paint Your Schools Purple” to mark the upcoming American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
The annual Relay is a huge fundraiser for the ACS, where people spend the night walking laps around a track to raise money. There is also food, entertainment and literally dozens of other activities going on. The event is held overnight, because “cancer doesn’t sleep.”
This year’s event will be held June 15-16 at the Emmet Belknap School track, located behind the High Street school.
School participating in the contest this year were George Southard, John Pound, Washington Hunt, Anna Merritt, Charles Upson, Roy B. Kelley, Lockport Opportunities and Emmet Belknap.
Students, teachers and staff alike sported various shades of purple, and cartoon characters were shown on posters, on walls and covering lockers.
Lots of children and adults were dressed as their favorite cartoon characters, including George Southard Principal Ryan Schoenfeld and teacher David Arlington, who greeted judges Jane Dent of the American Cancer Society, Lockport School Superintendent Michelle Bradley, and Anne Calos of the Union-Sun & Journal, dressed as Fred and Barney, and “riding” in their foot-powered car.
Students lined the halls, yelling the soon-to-be-familiar “Toon Out Cancer” and clapping their hands. Another hallway was a “time tunnel” as the Flintstones theme was left behind, replaced by the Jetsons of the future.
At John Pound, the preschoolers and their teachers dressed as cartoon characters; and purple balloons and and bows adorned the outside of the school.
Washington Hunt students Liana Williams and Nicholas Kleinhans did a song and dance for visitors, as other students clapped their hands.
Emmet Belknap student Madison Cox proudly donned the “Cancer Survivor” banner she wore at a previous Relay for Life in the Survivor’s Lap. She plans to attend this year’s event as well.
Throughout all of the buildings, adults and children alike shared their stories of relatives and friends who received a cancer diagnosis, and many had their own success stories to tell.
Dent said the annual event is all about educating students about the importance of cancer prevention.
“This isn’t just a one-day activity. All week, the kids learn about healthy habits and how they can prevent cancer. They learn about not smoking, healthy eating, exercise, and sun safety,” Dent said.
Each Lockport school also has a team in Relay for Life.