SADD/Snowball walks for pediatric cancer

Erika Miessner, News Editor

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The SADD/Snowball club participated in a walk for pediatric cancer on Sunday, Sept. 20 at the Schaumburg Boomers baseball stadium.
According to SADD/Snowball sponsor and Special Education teacher Shari Snavely, the members of the club walked in the event and made donations.
Overall, it was a very enjoyable experience for them.
“It was really fun, it was a cool experience and I had never done anything like it before and I’m glad I did it,” freshman Kaitlyn Fuller said.
“It was [overall a really] great experience because we actually got to meet some of the kids and they told some of their stories and everything else that went on and it was really, really good,” senior Savanna Culhane said.
Before the actual walk, the members watched a presentation that featured some of the children struggling with pediatric cancer for whom the walk was raising money. The members report this to be a very moving experience for them.
“They just had all the kids come down, and these are the kids who are surviving [and] attempting to survive,” junior Cat Cusick said. “They all said their names in the microphone, and they all got a medal, and I think every single person in the audience was crying.”
This part of the walk made the SADD/Snowball members realize the gravity of this issue. Actually seeing the children made it feel more real.
“I think that knowing that one in 330 kids are diagnosed with cancer each year is one thing and seeing that many in front of your eyes is another,” Cusick said.
“It was really sad, just having to see all the kids in just this area, because there were so many, so thinking about how many kids there are all over America or the world is sad,” Fuller said.
Despite the heaviness of the initial presentation, there were aspects of the walk that made it especially enjoyable for its participants.
“It was a lot of fun,” Culhane said. “It was less than two miles and they had characters dressed as superheroes for the children, to make them laugh. They had coffee for the people that woke up so early for the walk.”
The SADD/Snowball club chose to partake in this walk because they decided fundraising for cancer awareness was important to them.
“They just brought up ideas and suggestions about what was important to them, and I tried to match those up with the walks that were going to be available in September and October while the weather was still nice,” SADD/Snowball co-sponsor and Special Education teacher Steve Reitman said.
According to Snavely, the priorities of the club, including this walk for pediatric cancer and another in October for breast caner, were ultimately left up to the students.
“It’s really student led, and we push for it to be student-led,” Snavely said.
SADD/Snowball has done similar walks in prior years, including one at Soldier Field.
“It was a wonderful experience,” Reitman said. “We went out there and it was wonderful weather that day. The students were really charged up to have a good time and be part of something important like that, so I think it was very satisfying for me.”
Their walk at Soldier Field was also productive, raising about $400, according to Reitman.
Though the club participated in walks for cancer before, this was the club’s first time doing so for pediatric cancer. Reitman said that they picked this walk because the club wanted a new location and a fun environment.
Overall, that is one of the club’s main priorities for activities in general. Another priority of theirs is doing something beneficial for the community.
“We also don’t believe in being preachy towards the kids,” Reitman said. “The kids have heard the ‘don’t do drugs;’ we’re just looking for a way for kids to do something positive that could have a lasting effect on the community.”

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SADD/Snowball walks for pediatric cancer