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Elementary students raise funds for cancer research in ‘Eggstravagant’ effort

FORT KENT, Maine — Students at Fort Kent Elementary School stepped up to raise money for a St. John Valley team participating in the American Cancer Society sponsored Relay For Life taking place at the Caribou High School track in June.

During the week leading up to Easter, the students filled nearly 500 colored plastic eggs with $850 to support the non-profit organization.

Fort Kent Elementary School students placed footprints on a Wall of Hope to signify their efforts to raise money in March for the Aroostook Relay for Life to be held in June. (Courtesy of Garry Bouchard)

“Aroostook County is riddled with cancer. I don’t know anybody who has not been affected by cancer,” said Cuppy Johndro, one of the lead organizers of the Aroostook Relay For Life.

The annual Relay For Life is the largest international fundraiser in the world and raises money to pay for cancer research, buy wigs for cancer survivors and fund a national hotline offering support to those affected by cancer.

Teams raise money for cancer in advance of the Relay For Life event and walk to support the fight against cancer.

“They walk around the track in honor of their loved ones or walk for someone who’s fighting cancer or walk to show support,” Johndro said.

The Fort Kent-based Relay For Life team “Pictures of Hope,” led by husband and wife Garry and Louise Bouchard approached administrators at FKES to gain support for the fundraiser. The 13 member Pictures of Hope team includes members from Fort Kent, Frenchville, Madawaska, Wallagrass, Easton and Fort Fairfield.

Pictures of Hope provided the plastic eggs to students at FKES who filled them with change and dollar bills.

Children who returned the money filled eggs were able to place their name on a cut out footprint to a Wall of Hope at the school.

The theme of this year’s Relay For Life is “Superheroes Battling Cancer.”

The FKES student council helped to make the fundraiser a success. The student council members packed the plastic eggs with information about the fundraiser, dispersed the eggs to classrooms, collected the money filled eggs, and created the Wall of Hope on the school’s gymnasium wall, according to FKES educator and student council advisor Lori-Ann Saucier.

“Our (student council members) every year pick one charity to help as part of our mission of making our school, community, and world a better place,” Saucier said.  “This year we picked the Relay for Life because we have children in our school who have been affected by cancer. Whether it be an immediate family member or a member of their extended family, many have experienced cancer and it’s devastating effects. This can sometimes leave young students feeling hopeless. We hoped this activity would allow them to feel helpful rather than hopeless. Hence, the Wall of Hope seemed to be a perfect fit for the outcome we desired.”

Garry Bouchard thanked the staff, parents and students of Fort Kent Elementary School for the successful fundraiser.

“Your efforts have truly met the theme of this year’s relay. You are all superheroes,” he said.

The Aroostook Relay For Life will take place 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.  on Saturday, June 16, at Caribou High School.

Johndro said there were 15 teams signed up for the Aroostook Relay For Life as of March 30, and more are welcome. To learn more about Aroostook Relay For Life visit the organization’s webpage The toll-free hotline for the American Cancer Society is 1-800-227-2345.

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