“It’s a ripple effect,” Terri VanderJeugdt, a P.E. and health teacher who has experience with cancer because of her son’s diagnosis, says. “If we can prolong and save lives, I think we’ve done our deed, and that’s the main thing.”
The message is clear: Cancer knows no bounds. Many of us live in a mindset of invincibility, thinking not only that it won’t happen to us, it can’t happen to us. Yet, according to the National Cancer Institute, about 70,000 teens and young adults between the ages of 15-39 are diagnosed with cancer each year.
Our most powerful weapons against these mind boggling statistics are our voices and our ability to help improve research in order to find a cure. Cancer hasn’t just decided to drop from the number one to number two cause of death in the U.S.; we have forced it to come down by supporting the efforts of researchers everywhere. As one student body at Niles North, we must understand our responsibility to encourage change. It’s time to make our contribution and rally behind not only those we care about, but all who are affected by this disease– whether it be in the role of patient, sibling, parent, friend, or care giver– in the hopes that in the future cancer won’t affect anyone any more. Start stretching and get ready to run, Vikings, because you can make a difference.