Join the fight for more birthdays

To the Editor:

Are you excited for your next birthday? Do you look forward to the new iPhone 5 you’re getting?

Well, not all people will have another birthday this year. Actually, according to acco.org, a total of 1,660,290 new cancer cases are expected to occur in 2013. Of that, 13,500 of them will be children between the ages of birth and 19 years old.  Out of that many cancer cases, 4,719 children will die this year.

You want to have your next birthday. Wouldn’t you want everyone to have his or her birthday this year and, well, every year? Shouldn’t we be doing something about this? Everyone can help organizations like the American Cancer Society that helps support cancer research every day.

The ACS is trying to create a world with more birthdays. The ACS is a voluntary health organization dedicated to fighting against cancer. On its website (www.cancer.org), you can find many ways to make a difference and support research for cancer.

Also, there is something for everyone. If you like to run, there are marathons and local events like the Relay for Life in Guilderland. If you like sports, there are bike races, golf events, and more. There is even a dog fashion show in Saratoga for dog lovers! On the ACS website, you can find tons of local events near you. There are fun things for every personality and it’s also great to know you’re helping fight cancer.

I believe that you can do something small to make a difference and have a big impact in someone’s life.  I am a volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House.  That is where the families of sick kids stay if they live more than 50 miles from the hospital. Sometimes the kids who are sick stay there as well.

A lot of the kids that I meet there are cancer patients or siblings of cancer patients.  It is devastating to hear their stories, especially coming from a young child.

When I first started volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House, I met 2-year-old Cassie. She was the cutest baby I’d ever seen! She had leukemia — a horrible cancer in the blood. She had pretty red hair and a big smile on her face whenever I saw her.

I hated the times when she would come back from chemo and would be exhausted and all of her pretty hair would be gone. I still can’t imagine how awful it would be to go through that. Cassie had to stay in the hospital for two years, so she learned my name and we became best friends!

Cassie had been doing a lot better and was out of the hospital. Her family moved into an apartment, so I didn’t see her anymore.

Then, a year ago, Cassie was in a new hospital when she died. I was devastated and mad — mad because Cassie was such a sweet little girl who deserved a long and happy life but it was cut short because of cancer. 

Whenever I am volunteering, I feel like everything that I do there is making a difference in the guests’ lives. That is what I do to make a difference but, as I mentioned, there are many ways for everyone to help out.

Many people will say that they are too busy to do anything, but everyone can find a minute to make a difference rather than watching a TV show or playing that new video game.

I bet everyone can think of a relative or friend who passed away from cancer. A few years ago, my Grandma died from cancer and last year it was Cassie. We need to stop this from happening. The only way to do this is for everybody to join the fight for more birthdays.  It is a great feeling to know that you are making a difference and helping to make sure there are more birthdays!

Katelyn Dvorscak

Farnsworth Middle School

Guilderland

More Back to School

Guilderland has made strides in improvingg scores for students with disabilties and in closing the gap between students that come from poor homes and those that don't.

Guilderland teachers havae agreed to be evaluated through state tests so students will have to face fewers exams. Also this year, a $400,000 state "Teaching is the Core" grant will promote in-class coaching.

In the elementary school, teachers are embracing the math modules set out by the state as guides for curricula. Throughout the district, administrators are hoping hires of teaching assistants and teaching coaches will set BKW on the right track with the Common Core standards.