MARLOW, Okla._Marlow Elementary students took a stand against cancer this week, raising more than $2,000 for cancer research.
It was all a part of Relay Recess, a program geared toward getting elementary students engaged in the fight against cancer. Students spent the week selling everything from cupcakes to t-shirts to raise money. And on Friday they celebrated with an assembly that spotlighted the school's very own cancer survivors.
Friday was all about celebrating the school's six cancer survivors, from a bus driver to a teacher to a fifth grade student. They were all honored for their hard fought battle, one they hope no one else ever has to face.
"I hope no one else gets it. I wish that it didn't exist. It's horrible. I hate it," said fifth grader Olivia Whaley.
Whaley was diagnosed with a common form of leukemia at age three; she would go on to battle the disease for three years.
"I was scared a lot. They poked on me and prodded on me. It scared me. I always made my grandma get on the gurney with me for my CAT scans and MRI. I didn't like them," said Whaley.
It was a battle that greatly affected her childhood with constant trips to Oklahoma City and even a two month stay at the children's hospital
"I missed a lot of kindergarten which caused me to have to go to T-1 because I missed so much," recalled Whaley.
While it was tough to go through, she feels fortunate to have overcome.
"I feel proud because not many people get through it," said Whaley.
The assembly was not only about honoring the survivors but an important lesson was to be learned too; one about hope and the power of support.
"To look at everyone wearing pink and to know that they were celebrating that was pretty overwhelming. It just makes you feel stronger and makes you want to take care of things, and pass on your message to other people," said fifth grade teacher Jessie Genn.
For Olivia, Relay Recess was a special experience. It allowed her to work alongside her friends to raise money for cancer research while showing her just how much support she has surrounding her at school.
"It feels great to know that I have supportive friends like them. They're amazing. I love them," said Whaley.
The assembly also focused on educating students about how they can prevent cancer. Their teacher Mrs. Genn taught the kids to WAVE, each letter of the word standing for an element of living a healthy lifestyle. A simple gesture is a symbol to remind kids of her story of survival.