On March 17, 2018, members of two student groups from Miami Dade College Homestead Campus – the Journalism Club, and the Phi Theta Kappa honorary society – joined together to promote awareness and to raise funds for cancer. They participated in the American Cancer Society’s signature event – Relay for Life – which is held in communities throughout the U.S. and in 27 countries. According to the Relay for Life website, in 2016, more than $80 million dollars is expected to be raised for cancer control from countries where this event is being held.
About 20 MDC Homestead students raised $600 for cancer research and participated in this important event to honor loved ones lost, or those who have survived cancer. Reflecting on the meaning of the experience, members of the MDC Homestead Journalism Club wrote the following:
By Samuel Lawrence
When she was 32 years old, my grandmother came from Jamaica to America to better herself. She was diagnosed with bone cancer, but instead of crying, she toughened up. I remember when her hair was falling out, she’d say, “My beautiful hair is coming out.” I saw her tears of sorrow. My grandmother was a strong woman. Before she died, she bought her first home, then sold it to buy a second house in Miami. Finally, she sold that one, too, to buy a third house, even though she still had cancer. My grandmother was named Evelyn Rose Lawrence. She was a strong woman of god who I miss every day. Cancer may have taken her life, but the battle still rages on. My grandmother would say to me, “Life is too short to wait for people’s approval.” She was the “Spartan woman” of my life.
By Victoria Ramirez
My grandfather died of lung cancer when I was four years old. Essentially, he was my preschool self’s best friend, going on afternoon bike rides and eating peanut butter sandwiches when we returned. We were inseparable until the day my grandfather was defeated by the abnormal cells spreading throughout his body. As a young child, family members neglected to tell me what was going on with my grandfather. When I came to learn the truth in my adolescent years, I could not bring myself to imagine this man withering away from an unstoppable disease. To me, my grandfather was everything – he was my companion and protector. With him, I was a little girl who went on adventures and pretended to rule the world. His death was my first heartbreak and the first moment I became familiar with loss. I came to accept that I would grow up without my best friend, but I would always keep him close to me in a memory.
By Stephanie Tinoco
My friend Virtavious has been battling Renal Cell Carcinoma since March of 2017. The cancer attacks the kidneys. His first reaction was sadness; he felt like his life was over at just 29 years old. But luckily, the doctors caught the cancer in time and he will have surgery to remove the tumor next month.
By Joseph Vang III
My grandmother passed away in 1978 at age 45. She was diagnosed with a malignant form of brain cancer known as germinoma which resided in the pineal gland of her brain. Her first reaction to the diagnosis was met with anger; she was angry about her children losing their mother. The doctor gave her a prognosis of ten months to live. She suffered from severe headaches and blindness due to the growth of the tumor as it pushed against her optic nerve. She underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment for some time but sadly she was unable to make it past eight months. “She was a very brave woman,” my mother told me. “I’ll never forget how strong she was during that time, especially for us and my dad.”