Oak Bay High taking the lead in cancer fight

Students already rocking fundraising effort for kids battling cancer

Ella Van Neutegem, 17, gets wet washing a car at Oak Bay High on Saturday, during a charity car wash to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock. Van Neutegem is one of the organizing co-chairs for the school’s annual fundraiser.

Ella Van Neutegem, 17, gets wet washing a car at Oak Bay High on Saturday, during a charity car wash to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock. Van Neutegem is one of the organizing co-chairs for the school’s annual fundraiser.

Students already rocking fundraising effort for kids battling cancer

Fundraising for the Canadian Cancer Society’s Tour de Rock will be rocking Oak Bay High again this year, as students come together to spin big bucks for the campaign.

With a month of scheduled fundraising activities, students will aim to raise $25,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock event – though last year’s goal was about the same and the team pulled in more than $46,000.

“I’m involved because I have had a family member who was diagnosed with cancer, and a brother who had to be hospitalized with a life-threatening illness in Grade 5,” said Claire Wood, an Oak Bay High student in Grade 11. “I know what it’s like to have a young person you are worried about. … And last year, when I shaved my head for Cops for Cancer, I realized what a great way it is to meet people, and to get the entire community involved.”

Wood is one of 150 students on the main organizing team for the school’s fundraising activities. From Sept. 9, until Oct. 3, when the Tour de Rock riders arrive at the school for a special appearance, each Teacher Advisory Group (TAG) team will be challenged to bring in the most donations. With nearly 30 people in each team and about 60 teams in the school, Wood is expecting success.

“It feels great to know that your effort is going directly to help kids,” Wood said. “There’s a lot of build up and planning, but to see the smiles on (the kids’) faces is the greatest feeling in the world.”

One of the main events for the school will be the bottle drive on Saturday, Sept. 14. While some events like the dunk tank have had to be rescheduled due to weather, students and community members in the area will work together for the annual drive.

“The students are the leaders in this campaign,” said Oak Bay High vice principal Murray Allen, noting that the fundraising challenge began about a decade ago thanks to two students, Wendy Plint and Niki Hodgkinson. “It’s so inspiring to see what these young people come up with, and they take it very seriously.”

Allen points out Oak Bay High legacies, like Aubrey Blackhall, who is a rider in the event this year for Oak Bay Police Department after years of dedication in the high school fundraising event. Hodgkinson rode last year as a member of Saanich police.

With a total of 15 different fundraising events, and students like Wood, at age 16, assigned specifically to media relations, all the grades come together to start the planning process at the end of each school year. For some students, the upcoming head shave on Sept. 26 will be another opportunity to prove their dedication.

Wood says her hair has turned into a bit of a mullet from last year’s event, and she doesn’t plan on shaving it all again this year, but will consider it for her Grade 12 year.

“This has really been an amazing experience, and I definitely am getting a lot better at my communication skills and interacting with members of my community,” Wood said. “Who knows where something like this can lead, but it’s made me consider a career in working a lot more with my community.”

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Help the students by participating in one of the upcoming fundraising events.

Sept. 14 – Bottle drive (Oak Bay High east gym, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

Sept. 17 – Fundraising dodgeball tournament (Oak Bay High east gym, noon)

Sept. 19 – Silent auction (Oak Bay High cafeteria, 7 p.m.)

Sept. 21 – Bake sale (Pharmasave on Oak Bay Ave., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

Sept. 24 – Benefit concert (Oak Bay High auditorium, 7 p.m.)

Sept. 26 – Student head shave (Oak Bay High east gym, noon to 1 p.m.)

Sept. 28 – Cops for Cancer “Olympics” (Oak Bay High field, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

Learn more and donate at oakbay.sd61.bc.ca.

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