For the eighth year now, elementary and middle school kids from across the county have the opportunity to come together for the Relay for Life Kids’ Walk and make their own special difference in helping the fight against cancer.
“It’s like a mini-Relay for Life,” said organizer Michelle Parker. “We want to teach the kids that even though they are kids they can still encourage those battling cancer and help to find a cure for cancer. We want them t0 raise money, be involved, and have fun with the event.”
This year’s Kids’ Walk will be held Saturday, June 1 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Clinton High’s Dark Horse stadium, and as always, the Kids’ Walk has its own unique theme. This year’s is “Dancing for a Cure.”
Recently, information about the event and this year’s theme was sent out to all of the elementary and middle schools in the county, and students were encouraged to create original T-shirt designs to represent this year’s Kids’ Walk theme.
According to Parker, five schools chose to participate in the T-shirt design contest, and after much deliberation, the design by Shinka Bronson, an eighth-grader at Sampson Middle School, was chosen as the winner. Honorable mentions were eighth-grader Emma Purdie of Sampson Middle, seventh-grader Blythe Best of Midway Middle, and fourth-grader Raimon Parker of Sunset Avenue Elementary.
As the winner, Bronson’s design will appear on the official Kids’ Walk T-shirts. In addition to winning a blue ribbon, she will also receive a T-shirt of her own along with an art kit.
When Bronson learned of her win and was presented with her blue ribbon by Parker, she was surprised but smiling. “It feels great,” exclaimed Bronson of her win, finding it hard to capture her excitement in words.
“We are so appreciative of your hard work,” Parker told her, adding that Bronson was indeed a really hard worker, actually turning in two different designs to the contest.
Wearing Bronson’s T-shirt design, the young attendees at the Kids’ Walk will get to enjoy live entertainment including dancing and singing, an inflatable bounce house, slide and obstacle course, face painting, limbo, line dancing, a hula hoop contest, and of course, the walk itself.
“I really enjoyed all the activities,” recalled Sunset Avenue student Zoey Locklear who participated in Kids’ Walk last year. “I really liked the bouncy house, the ring toss, and the big game of Twister that they had set up in the middle of the field.”
“I liked the dunking booth,” added fellow Sunset Avenue student Zachary Lucas who was also at the festivities last year. “I also like the walk but with kids it’s more like a run.”
When asked why supporting Relay for Life is important, Maegan Byrd, another Sunset Avenue student who has previously participated in the Kids’ Walk, shared that she goes every year because “it helps others.”
Locklear shared that doing her part in the fight against cancer is important to her because her aunt and her grandma battled the disease.
Locklear explained that, in addition to participating in Kids’ Walk every year, she also cuts her hair for Locks of Love. “I’ve cut my hair twice for Locks of Love because I have really thick hair and I get headaches from it. I wanted to cut my hair but I didn’t just want my hair to be thrown away. I wanted it to be used to help someone.”
The last time she cut her hair for Locks of Love, Locklear noted that she had some company. “My sister Hannah Locklear and my cousin Haley Stone also got theirs cut, too. It’s a cool thing to do.”
Lucas shared that supporting Relay for Life is special to him because “my grandpa had cancer and died last year.”
Locklear, Byrd, and Lucas are just three of the 130 kids that participated in last year’s walk. “We had a good turnout but we are hoping for more this year,” said Parker.
“It’s a good chance to help people,” said Byrd, encouraging other youngsters like herself to come out to this year’s Kids’ Walk. “You get your exercise too. It’s just really fun to participate.”
“It’s a good organization to help, raising money for people, even kids, who have cancer and everything you buy there (at the walk) goes to cancer research,” added Lucas noting that last year he thought the Kids’ Walk raised around $5,000. “And it’s big. Be prepared to have a fun time.”
Registration for the Kids’ Walk has been extended. The deadline is now this Friday, May 10 and the fee is $10 (and includes a T-shirt). A limited amount of extra T-shirts will be available for purchase at the event.
Participants are encouraged to raise $20 or more in donations but it is not mandatory.
For more information about the Relay for Life Kids’ Walk, please contact Parker at 385-8627.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at email@example.com.