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Luminary Walk to shine light on cancer fight

March 11, 2013

Holding one of the Pennies for Patients cash collection boxes, Home Street Middle School Secretary Kristen Carr stands next to photos of this year’s local poster children, Ryker Carr and Gia Gehringer. A luminary walk will be the fundraiser’s concluding event this Friday. Photo by Marilyn Blake Philip

Cancer survivors, their families and the community are invited to walk in honor of cancer patients and cancer survivors at the second annual Shine on the Sierra Luminary Walk this week.
This culminating, public event is in memory of and in support of cancer patients – those who died, those who still struggle with all forms of the disease and those who have vanquished it.
The luminary walk is the big finalé to Bishop Unified School District’s Feb. 25 through March 15 district-wide Pennies for Patients fundraising campaign to benefit the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.
“The Luminary Walk is our way of thanking, supporting and celebrating the efforts of the staff and students of BUSD in their efforts to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society,” Home Street Middle School Secretary/Administrative Assistant Kristen Carr said.
Profits from the luminary walk will be shared. “Part of the donations will go to LLS and this year the (fundraiser) committee has decided to also donate to Gia Gehringer, one of this year’s local Pennies for Patients poster children.”
The walk is scheduled to be held from 6:30-8 p.m. this Friday, March 15 at the Bishop Union High School track at the corner of Home and Pine streets.
Registration for the walk will be held from 6:30-7 p.m. “By donating $5 you will receive a luminary bag to decorate and it will be placed with others around the track,” said Carr. Residents will also have another chance to register as bone marrow donors, which only involves a mouth swab. The Lions Club will sell corndogs; all proceeds will go to LLS. The BUHS cheer squad will provide face-painting.
After participants circle BUHS’ quarter-mile track during the 7-7:45 p.m. luminary walk, closing ceremonies will be held in front of the bleachers from 7:45-8 p.m.
Results of the blood drive and bone marrow registry will be announced, as well as the names of the individuals, schools and classes that collected the most fundraising dollars. “You will also get to see the crazy shaved heads of our brave Cut for the Cure (HSMS) volunteers,” said Carr, referring to one of the school’s fundraiser innovations. HSMS AVID students are selling Cut for the Cure raffle tickets “and the winners get to shave the heads of the volunteers any way they want.”
The three-week BUSD Pennies for Patients fundraiser included many other events to raise money for and awareness of leukemia and other cancers. Bishop High, HSMS and Bishop Elementary School students have been collecting money from community members since the campaign kicked off on Feb. 25. According to BUSD, students have been using the now-traditional, local Pennies for Patients motto, “We like the stuff that jingles but we love the stuff that folds.” Checks fold, and may be made payable to: LLS-Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
BUHS held a blood drive and bone marrow registry on March 7. The HSMS Associated Student Body raised nearly $900 at the blacklight Dance for Life. Lap-a-thons at all three schools are enlisting sponsors to make per-laps-run donations. Giant paper pennies, costing $1 and imprinted with the purchasers’ names, are being sold and displayed at HSMS and the elementary schools, which also have Hat Days when students pay for the privilege of wearing their hats in school.
Elementary kids will have to ante-up $2 if they want to be able to wear their pajamas to school on March 15, said Vice Principal Heather Carr, Ryker’s aunt.
HSMS media class students have been creating and airing Leukemia/Cancer televised spots “in every classroom everyday” since Feb. 25, Carr said.
Students aren’t the only ones having all the fun. HSMS faculty created a Harlem Shake video and when $300 is raised, Carr said, the students will get to view it. At $500, the video will go global via YouTube. “Trust me, it’s pretty funny,” Carr said. Community members can still donate at HSMS.
Though they share some events in common, the three schools are in “friendly competition,” said Carr. (Last year, HSMS was the top-earner, donating more than $8,000 to LLS, which wanted to know what Home Street did in order to raise so much mone)
To help students and the rest of the community understand the immediacy of all of Pennies for Patients fundraising efforts, this year’s poster children are locals.
Two-and-a-half-year-old Ryker Carr, who has leukemia, was chosen again because students “have already connected to him and are interested in seeing his successful progress,” said Carr, Ryker’s great-aunt. The other poster child is 18-month-old Gia Gehringer, daughter of Bishop residents Heather and Mike, who continues to battle saccrococcygeal teratoma and yok sac tumor at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
“Please come together as a community and get involved in this extremely important campaign. Your gift could help save a life,” said BUSD. “We look forward to your support and participation.”
For more information, contact Kristin Carr or Vicka Stout at Home Street Middle School, (760) 872-1381; Heather Carr or Jean Sprague at Bishop Elementary School, (760) 872-7658; or Mandy Kemp at BUHS, (760) 873-4275.

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