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WARNER ES RAISES CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS WITH BALLOON RELEASE

September 16, 2015

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Warner Elementary School students and staff wear gold and form the shape of a smiley face before releasing gold-colored balloons honoring families in the community affected by childhood cancer on Sept. 16. The balloon release was held in conjunction with Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Sept. 16, 2015—Students and staff at Warner Elementary School honored families in the community impacted by childhood cancer on Sept. 16 by wearing gold-colored clothing and releasing gold balloons behind the school.

The American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO) is encouraging everyone to wear gold in September during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, as gold represents our most precious resource—children.

To show its support, the Warner PTO tied names of children in the community affected by cancer to 100 balloons, which were released by staff members at the beginning of the school day on Sept. 16.

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Warner staff members release gold-colored balloons in the air on the morning of Sept. 16 to raise awareness for the American Childhood Cancer Organization and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

“We had a former student who passed away after a battle with cancer, and we have a couple kids at our school who are currently fighting it,” said Schonda Kidd, Warner principal. “Last year we did a display like this for breast cancer, but we wanted to bring an overall awareness of childhood cancer to our students.”

The school also coordinated activities such as decorating cards that will be sent to childhood cancer patients at Texas Children’s Hospital, according to school counselor Irasema Rocchi.

“Empathy is something we have to learn; it’s taught to us,” Rocchi said. “This is one small thing we can do as a school community.”

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Warner staff members (L-R) Jenny Lira, teacher; Tameka Justice, assistant principal; Denise Carroll, teacher; and Amy Cannon, speech pathologist; prepare to release gold balloons honoring childhood cancer fighters behind the school on Sept. 16.

The event held personal meaning for Warner parent Melissa Batchelder, whose third-grade daughter, Laurel, was diagnosed with cancer at age 3. Now a survivor of nearly five years, Laurel joined in the balloon release with hundreds of classmates.

“When your child is hit with a cancer diagnosis, you realize how important family and community are,” Batchelder said. “Not a lot of people have the support system of extended family nearby to be able to take them to a hospital or other activities. We’ve learned it takes a community to help a family through a cancer diagnosis.”

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Warner second-grade students Alysa Anliker, left, and Annika Linna wear gold-colored clothing on "Gold Out" day on Sept. 16.

Batchelder said that the display from an entire elementary campus is essential in raising support and awareness for the devastating disease.

“Statistics show that a lot of the kids in this school will know someone personally with a diagnosis by the time they’re in high school,” she said. “The more we are aware of it and don’t hide what it is, it will help them know what to do and how to respond.”

For more information, visit the ACCO website at www.acco.org.

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Warner staff and students watch as 100 balloons honoring community members affected by childhood cancer float into the sky on Sept. 16.

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Warner staff members (L-R) Mary Simmons, counselor; Kimberly Dean, instructional specialist; Cathy Abercrombie, assistant principal; Schonda Kidd, principal; Tameka Justice, assistant principal; and Irasema Rocchi, counselor; wear gold to support Childhood Cancer Awareness Month on Sept. 16.

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Warner third-grade students (L-R) Presley Alvarez, Anne Carter and Bella Vrana have fun at the balloon release event on Sept. 16.

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