Bay High students unite to fight cancer

Hello, my name is Ava Ransom, and I’m a senior at Bay High School. I am excited to announce that Bay High School will be a part of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) “Students of the Year” campaign!

From Jan. 25 to March 13 high school students in Northern Ohio will engage their community in raising funds for LLS in order to support and fight for patients with blood cancer. Bay has been a part of this campaign for the past two years, and this year our team of 15 Bay High School students believes that with the support of our amazing Bay community, we can reach our goal of $100,000!

The mission of LLS is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life for patients and their families. LLS has invested $1.3 billion into research since 1949 and since then survival rates for blood cancer have quadrupled. This research is even leading to treatment advances for other cancers. Despite these advances, blood cancer is still devastating to the thousands of patients diagnosed each year. More than 33% of blood cancer patients do not survive more than 5 years after diagnosis.

Most of us have been personally and deeply affected by cancer at some point in our lives. Whether it’s you who fought or is fighting, or you watched a family member or friend fight, cancer is devastating. The most difficult part of watching someone you love fight for their life is feeling powerless while watching them suffer during treatment.

In our community, cancer has left its mark. One of our teammates, Jane Finley, was diagnosed with lymphoma in eighth grade, beat it after going through excruciating treatment, relapsed, and beat it again. Another of our teammates, Claire Blevins, was diagnosed with leukemia in 10th grade just days after her 16th birthday, endured sickening months of chemotherapy, and beat it too. A third teammate of ours and middle school cross country coach, Theresa, was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2018 and endured 6 months of aggressive chemo to become healthy again. Our childhood choir director, Carrie Engelbrecht, went through unbearable treatment for a rare form of blood cancer for more than 2 years and devastatingly passed away last year.

Lastly, this past December, our school received devastating news that one of our classmates, Damon Bower, was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer. He is currently going through treatment, and I know that our community is doing everything we can to support Damon in hopes that he will become healthy again. It is unbelievable that he is the third of my classmates to battle cancer while in high school.

I hold on to the possibility of a world without blood cancer so that no one will ever have to fight a battle like this. I believe that with the support of our community, we will make a lasting impact. I invite you to join me and Team Unite to Fight, to stand up to cancer.

To support our efforts, you can donate online by visiting my website:, or if you wish to donate through the mail please make your check payable to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and send to 6111 Oak Tree Blvd. Suite 130, Independence, OH 44131. Make sure to print our team name, “ Unite to Fight,” in the memo section. Your donations are tax deductible.

As a community of fighters, supporters and advocates, we truly believe we will make a lasting impact. For more information, please feel free to contact me at Let’s be the change.

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Volume 12, Issue 3, Posted 9:53 AM, 02.04.2020