Cancer victims need our support

Terri Preston
According to the creator of this door, more than 400,000 Americans will die every year from lung cancer. That means that more people will die in one year from lung cancer than all the people who have ever been killed by nuclear weapons combined.

Terri Preston and Parker Rhee

Cancer is one of the most terrible afflictions to ever strike mankind. Victims could easily spend years battling cancer, all the while unable to live a normal life. Treating cancer is time consuming, expensive, and emotionally draining. And cancer is by no means a rare ailment, either. 4 out of 10 people you see around you right now will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. Every year, close to ten million people die from cancer, and many, many more are diagnosed with some form of cancer. Cancer patients come from all walks of life, and they need our help and support. 

“There is always something more that can be done for cancer patients,” said Merima Adanalic (12). “Obviously, we can’t stop it from happening to people, but there is a lot we can do to support cancer victims.” 

“I think the whole county should have a fundraiser to help people who have cancer,” said Kyla Bamln (12). 

My name is Terri Preston, and I am a teacher at Hidden Valley. I have been affected by cancer, just as the vast majority of people will be in their lives. When I was in high school, I wasn’t familiar with cancer, nor did I know exactly what it was. Unfortunately, fifteen years later I was personally affected by this deadly disease. My mom was flown from Wytheville to Roanoke on a Sunday. My sister and I met her in the hospital, and the last coherent words that she said to us was, “Girls, I’m ate up with cancer!”  We were shocked and in complete disbelief. The hospital immediately had her connected to IV’s and pain patches. They just wanted her as comfortable as she could possible during her last days. That Thursday, she passed away. 

The next year I began a full-time teaching position here at Hidden Valley High School. I became friends with one of my coworkers, Pat Ammenwho is also a breast cancer survivor. At that timeshe was the sponsor of the Cancer Awareness Team. Together I co-sponsored the team with her, and last year when she retired, she asked me to continue sponsoring the team. She knew that it was something that I had a passion for. 

In the past, the Cancer Awareness Team would sponsor a Pink week, but this year we decided to sponsor a Cancer Awareness Week so that we could bring awareness to the different types of cancers. With the door decorating contest, we were able to educate people about breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, and leukemia. We also created a survivor door. During the week we hosted a Chuck-a-Puck event during the Hidden Valley and Cave Spring varsity boys’ basketball game as a fundraiser for a current freshman, Mark Thomas. Mark was diagnosed with leukemia last May, and he has been going through treatments and hasn’t been able to attend school this year. Hopefully, he will be returning in March to finish the school year. We are all rooting for you Mark. We can’t wait to see you again!

Maybe we can’t provide a miraculous cure for cancer patients, but we hold in our hands the ability to make their life so much better. We only need to choose to act. If every student in Roanoke County donated 10 cents, then we could provide over a thousand dollars’ worth of support to victims. If everyone gave a dollar, then we could potentially cover all the expenses associated with their treatment. This kind of generosity would cost individuals almost nothing but multiplied by the number of willing donors, this could make a real difference in the lives of those who need it the most. And our help does not need to be limited to financial aid. By a simple expression of support for a victim, we can do so much to help them and their loved ones around them.

In April, the Cancer Awareness Team is going to host a fundraiser to support victims of cancer with the Grateful Heads, a charity organization that sells tie dye shirts to support various causes. They would appreciate any support you would be willing to give them.