It was the experiences of four cancer survivors that prompted staff and students at Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair to get involved in this year’s Relay for Life event.
“They came to the school about a month ago and told us their own personal stories and it touched a raw nerve among all of us,” Ita Boyle, Assistant Principal and head of Transition Year related.
Consequently, the T.Y. students agreed to enter a team for Relay which is being staged over twenty-four hours from Saturday evening through to Sunday, 25th and 26th of this month.
“We set up different stations in the gym to organise the various jobs that had to be done,” said Ita.
There’s a total of 75 students in T.Y. at the school Ita indicates:
“We’ll have a core group over the twenty-four hours of the Relay and helping to supervise the gazebo and the other jobs that are required,” she adds.
For many of the students and staff of Pobailscoil Ghaoth Dobhair, cancer hasn’t escaped their own lives in some capacity with family members and friends having experienced the journey that goes with it.
And over the weekend of Relay for Life, the Gweedore school will remember in particular Mairead Ni Dhugain, the home economics teacher, who, sadly, passed away three summers ago as a result of the disease.
“We always wanted to do something to commemorate her and this gives us an opportunity to do so.”
The four survivors who addressed the students had themselves contacted the school to share their stories and highlight the work and fund-raising efforts associated with the Relay initiative.
“It helped make the students fully aware of how important research is in helping to battle cancer and how every penny is vital in this regard,” said Ita.
The school got its fund-raising efforts off to a positive start by hosting a no-uniform day. And on Wednesday night, the T.Y. class representatives hosted a table quiz to add to the funding drive.
Students and teachers have also been invited to contribute to a trolley located in the corridor which will be topped up by local supermarket owner and Ita’s husband, Brendan Gallagher.
Candles are also being sold to be used in the luminaria ceremony on the Saturday night of Relay which is, as always, being staged on the campus at Letterkenny I.T.
“We’re all fired up for it now and can’t wait for the Relay weekend. We’ve learned a lot about what it means and it gives us a chance to make our own contribution to the cause,” Ita proclaims.
“And when you see the statistics that suggest one in two people will develop cancer at some stage in their lives, it underlines the importance of research and why the objectives of Relay for Life can never be underestimated.”