When Valerie Week’s daughter Cecylia was diagnosed with Wilms tumor, they were surrounded by support from their community. “A lot of people helped us along the way,” says Valerie. “After we finished treatment, I knew that we had to do something to give back.” When she heard about CureSearch’s Sock It To Cancer, she thought it would be a great fit for her school, West Hills School, where she teaches 4th and 5th grade English.
Sock It To Cancer encourages students to help children with cancer by collecting spare change and bringing it in to school. The money collected helps fund research and clinical trials conducted at hospitals across the country. Valerie thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to teach her students that they can make a difference.
She reached out to some fellow teachers at other local schools and was amazed by the response. Teachers at neighboring school East Hills decided to join the campaign. Valerie and Karri Cowdry, East Hills School student council leadership faculty advisor, worked together to come up with event ideas and ways to get the students motivated.
Their first event was a basketball game between Bloomfield Hills High School and Clarkston High School called Hoops for Hope. Valerie and her fellow teachers sold t-shirts and asked for donations. They were amazed when the gym was full of people supporting both teams and children with cancer.
In each school, they tried to create a healthy sense of competition by announcing the totals raised every day and plastered the school with information about Sock It To Cancer to keep students motivated. Valerie and her fellow teachers loved seeing their students become passionate about children’s cancer.
At the end of their campaign both schools raised $3,618.60! “I cannot put into words how excited I am that we raised so much,” says Valerie. “I am just blown away by all the work that everyone did to raise this money. I’m so thankful for the time and effort that went in to making this event so successful.”
Valerie is already looking forward to her next CureSearch event, the Detroit CureSearch Walk. She can’t wait to see her fellow teachers there celebrating and especially her daughter, Cecylia, goes up on the stage and receive her CureSearch Champions medal.
To learn more about Sock It To Cancer, visit www.curesearch.org/Sock-It-To-Cancer.