CANCER: A scary word with a big impact
By SALLY BOYD
Gazette Neighbors Editor
“Cancer. That’s a scary word, isn’t it? Six simple letters and yet there’s so much meaning behind it…”
So spoke BHS sophomore Aiden Ruck as she opened a presentation Thursday evening for the Bellevue Board of Education.
Ruck, who will be giving her presentation at the spring FCCLA state conference’s STAR Event Illustrated Talk, knows all about cancer and the impact it has on the patient, their family and friends for her mother had thyroid cancer and still struggles with some of the residual effect it had on her.
“One of the eight FCCLA purposes is to strengthen the function of the family as a basic unit of society. Cancer doesn’t affect just one family member, it affects everyone and requires everyone’s support,” she said. “One other FCCLA purpose cancer relates to is to encourage individual and group involvement in helping achieve goals, cooperation and harmony. When someone has cancer, they really need group support to pull through. Without others around you, cancer can be a very difficult struggle.”
Standing next to a large “cancer” board centered with the familiar cancer ribbon, Ruck said she researched 56 different types of cancers, each of which was named all over the board.
“Each cancer has their own ribbon color. I used lavender because it represents all types of cancer,” she said.
Ruck then got the board and audience’s attention when she began methodically listing the number of annual new cases of eight kinds of cancers as well as the yearly death rate for each. Included were prostate cancer with 238,590 new cases annually and 30,200 deaths; lung cancer, 219,440 new with 159,000 deaths; kidney cancer, 208,500 new with 100,000 deaths; and skin cancer, 170,000 new and 65,000 deaths.
“Listen to those numbers… Just in the eight cancers I mentioned, there are 977,220 new cases and 416,317 deaths. That’s only in eight different cancers,” she said.
Ruck told the board she also had created a pamphlet, which she handed out at last fall’s homecoming football game as a means of drawing attention to the topic. Along with the pamphlet, lighted luminaries made from milk jugs lined the streets leading to the high school as an FCCLA project.
“There were 400 milk jugs, each representing 145 cancer cases in Ohio. In total, 58,000 cancer cases were represented that night. The luminaries didn’t even represent all the new breast cancer cases there are each year in the U.S.”
Ruck went on to talk about a family friend who had cancer. “This illustrates that cancer doesn’t just affect family, it can also affect friends,” she said. “If you know anyone with any form of cancer, please show your support.”
Her presentation was one of two given Thursday. Bellevue Middle School Principal John Bollinger gave an update on the middle school, specifically on the new video production class which weekly produces a video program shared with the entire school. Called the Redmen Recap, the student-created program showcased the tech workshop, where four classes are held, and a segment on the healthy food room used by classes.
Bollinger introduced several students affiliated with the program, some of whom brought ceramic projects they made using the school’s new kiln. In addition to ceramics, students in the tech classes learn computer skills, video production, and the use of power tools. They also create T-shirts, carbon dioxide propelled dragsters, Legos robots and other skills.
Superintendent Kim Schumaker commented, “We have our beautiful new buildings, but they are only as great as we make use of it. I have thanked the community over and over for providing these for our students. I truly mean it. I want to thank the community again.”