PCHS student takes on cancer

17-year-old Sarah Davis has taken the responsibility of opening a Canada-wide cancer fundraiser to the entire community.

17-year-old Sarah Davis has taken the responsibility of opening a Canada-wide cancer fundraiser to the entire community.

ADAM JACKSON/Ponoka News

For a normal 17-year-old, organizing a multi-thousand-dollar fundraiser isn’t part of general after-school activities.

For grade 12 PCHS student Sarah Davis, that’s exactly it.

Davis has taken on the responsibility of organizing the first Ponoka Relay for Life, a Canada-wide fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society.

The Relay for Life has been running for two years at PCHS.

“I wanted to raise money for cancer and last year they were looking for someone to take over,” said Davis. “A lot of adults wanted to get involved as well, so we opened it up to the whole community.”

Relay for Life is an event, which runs overnight from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and is a relay, where at least one person from every team of 10 continually walks around the soccer field. All proceeds will go toward the Canadian Cancer Society.

“Cancer never sleeps,” said Davis.

“That’s what the whole event is about.”

Under the leadership of Davis, the event has 13 teams, of 10, signed up so far, with a minimum cost of $15 if you register online and $20 if you sign up at the event. Some of this fee will go toward cancer research, but participants are encouraged to donate as much as possible.

Organizing a fundraiser of this magnitude has not been easy for Davis, but with the help of 20 volunteers made up of adults and students, she has been able to battle through the last five months of planning.

“I definitely could not have done it without them,” said Davis.

Davis and the committee have been in charge of every detail for the event, from finding bands for a performance, to finding a tent to cover the stage.

The community support for the event has been outstanding, says Davis. Relay for Life has received monetary donations from many businesses in the community and also have the support of the Ponoka Fire Department, who will be cooking a special dinner for cancer survivors participating.

“I didn’t (expect to see this much support) for the first year,” said Davis. “I thought it would be way harder.”

The group has also been involved in a few fundraising events in Ponoka, including a barbecue sign-up at the Bargain Shop on April 30, where they recruited participants, as well as selling tickets for The Boob Tour in Ponoka on April 17.

Davis, who has lived in Ponoka since she was in grade 2, has a part of her family that is very passionate about supporting cancer research and she says that it rubbed off on her.

Recognition for her efforts has not been lost on the faculty at the high school.

“She received a leaders of tomorrow award and this just shows what kind of leader she is,” said principal Ian Rawlinson.

“She has taken it on entirely on her own,” he added.