Norwin students take holiday cheer to cancer patients
A diagnosis of cancer can be devastating and the treatments that follow can take their toll.
Last year, two Norwin School District students decided to make themselves a bright spot for patients arriving for treatment. They continued that mission Thursday afternoon at UPMC McKeesport's Radiation Oncology and Medical Oncology Unit.
“I thought it would be nice to help make people happy with gifts like cards,” Tyler Funk, 12, of North Huntingdon Township said.
To raise awareness about the disease and the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life, Tyler designed a T-shirt in conjunction with World Cancer Day on Feb. 4. The logo is a pair of boxing gloves above the phrase “Keep Calm and Fight On.” The shirts are purple, the official color of the society's annual Relays.
Shirts and purple bracelets with the logo were sold to students and teachers throughout the school district to raise money for cancer research.
A “purple out” was organized at a Norwin basketball game.
So far this year, more than $4,000 has been raised and 906 T-shirts have been sold.
During Thursday's visit, Tyler and his friend Zachary Waugh, 12, of Irwin, gave handmade Valentine cards to patients waiting for treatments.
“I like to see smiles on people's faces,” Zachary said. “One woman was so happy that she got a Valentine today. She said it was the first one she got this year. It made me feel good to know we made her happy.”
“It was very nice and it made me feel good,” said Mike Moran of Hempfield Township, a former McKeesport area resident.
Moran was diagnosed with prostate cancer two years ago and recently began daily 15-minute radiation treatments.
“I started with ‘watchful waiting,' as the doctors call it,” he said. “I just started a series of 44 treatments.”
Although he was shocked by the diagnosis and nervous about starting the treatments, Moran said he has no problems.
“I'm doing what they tell me,” he said. “I was a little afraid of the radiation, but so far I'm going along good.”
Tyler's desire to help cancer patients stems from his father's bout with skin cancer.
“That was a driving force for me to do this,” he said.
Carol Waterloo Frazier is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-961 ext. 1916, or firstname.lastname@example.org.