Students Relay for Life during field day

Members of the Spanish Lake Primary School cafeteria staff waved signs, danced the Harlem Shuffle and walked around the school parking lot Friday in support of their boss and cancer survivor, Vanessa Blair, during the parish’s first school-based Relay for Life.

Blair, the school’s cafeteria manager, speech therapist Bridget Link and other cancer survivors led the first, or survivors lap, at the event, which was held in front of the school as part of field day activities.

After the cancer survivors made a few laps, the second-graders joined in; throughout the morning, other students walked in the cancer awareness and fundraising program.

Principal Britton Colon said the Relay for Life walk was a culmination of a weeklong event that provided students with information about cancer and collected coins for the American Cancer Society.

Ascension Parish Relay for Life volunteers Kim Meyers, Wendy Tregre and Licia Chaney approached Colon earlier this year about having a school-based Relay for Life walk.

Chaney said the school walk was an “unbelievable way to kick off” the parish Relay for Life, which was Saturday at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center.

“We approached the school, and they went with it,” Tregre said. “And we couldn’t be more thrilled.”

Students were asked to invite friends and family members who were cancer survivors.

Torren Earls, 7, invited his grandfather, Henry Barro, who had cancer surgery in August.

Barro, who said he’s undergoing follow-up treatment, said he couldn’t’ resist the invitation from his grandson.

Anne Bourg, who recently had surgery to remove skin cancer, got an invitation from two students she baby-sits.

She walked, hand in hand, with Jacob Haik.

Dutchtown High School junior and cancer survivor Rachael Lambert, 17, walked with her sister, teacher Roxanne Lasseigne.

The survivors agreed that raising awareness that early detection saves lives is a key to the Relay for Life event.

“We can make a change,” Link said. “So many of us have been affected by cancer. It’s a scary thing, but when you have support, it’s so important and that gets you through.”

Colon said he hopes to make the event an annual one and is looking for more schools to take part.