On a warm, sunny day in mid-March, students, parents, family members, faculty and staff from all four campuses gathered at the middle school field for the 10th annual Harker Cancer Walk.
Funds raised from the walk benefit young cancer patients attending Camp Okizu. Thanks to monetary donations and funds raised from the sale of baked goods and other items, more than $14,000 will go to the camp this year, reported Cindy Ellis, middle school head.
Located in the Berry Creek area of the Sierra foothills, Camp Okizu provides a safe place for children with cancer to enjoy regular summer camp activities and social events.
“This time was a bit more special as it was our 10th anniversary celebration walk!” said Michael Schmidt, middle school computer science teacher and department chair. Schmidt had the idea for the fundraiser following the passing of his own mother due to cancer.
“This is an event that Harker was kind enough to let me start in 2007 in honor of loved ones inflicted with cancer,” he continued. “Since then, it has been used as a moment for our entire community to come together and celebrate the lives of those we love and those we’ve lost. It is a symbolic walk that is measured not by the miles covered, but by the love and understanding between us all.”
Prior to the walk, students engaged in various activities to learn about different forms of cancer and cancer prevention strategies. In a further show of support, many teachers displayed door decorations with themes designed to promote cancer awareness. And during the walk, Honor Flags – honoring someone who is fighting or has fought cancer – were placed in the ground along the inner edge of the field’s walking path.