By Curt Yeomans
McGarrah Elementary School's administrators, faculty and students know the face of cancer.
Principal Tammy Burroughs is undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Linda Lycett, a gifted education teacher, and Janice Patterson, a former paraprofessional, are breast cancer survivors.
Last year, two former McGarrah educators, Dorothy Williams and Stacey Powell, died from cancer within a four-month span.
Staff members at the school will remember cancer victims, survivors, and relatives, during this spring's Relay for Life of Clayton County -- an annual fund-raiser for cancer research.
"It [knowing people with cancer] has made us stronger, and more unified as a staff, because of the concern we have for these people," said Robin Duggan, one of the co-captains for McGarrah's Relay for Life of Clayton County team.
McGarrah, located at 2201 Lake Harbin Road, Morrow, will host a yard sale Saturday, from 7:30 a.m., to 2:30 p.m., to raise funds for the school's cancer support team. Anyone who wants to donate items for the yard sale, should bring them to the school by 5 p.m., today.
The Relay for Life of Clayton County is organized by the American Cancer Society (ACS). In the spring, communities hold relays so there can be a greater emphasis on fund-raising at the local level.
An estimated 36,980 Georgia residents will be diagnosed with cancer this year, compared to 1,437,180 people across the nation, according to the American Cancer Society. Lung Cancer is the most common type of cancer expected to be diagnosed this year (215,020 cases), followed by prostate cancer (186,320 cases), followed by breast cancer (184,450 cases), the agency said.
"We can't personally cure the cancer, so we raise the money to help fight it," said Stacey Cosby, a pre-kindergarten teacher at the school. Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago. "I wish I could wave a magic wand and cure every cancer patient, but I can't."
This year's Relay for Life of Clayton County will be held May 16-17, at Twelve Oaks Stadium, 1587 McDonough Road in Hampton.
McGarrah is third among 27 Clayton County teams in fund-raising for cancer research, according to the Relay for Life of Clayton County web site. The school has raised $750 so far, only eight percent of it's $9,000 goal.
Kemp Elementary School ($1,412.32), and Rex Mill Middle School ($905) lead all Clayton County teams in fund-raising. Roberta T. Smith Elementary School ($744), and Jonesboro First United Methodist Church ($605) round out the top five.
Penny Williams, one of the co-captains of McGarrah's team, said anyone wishing to donate money on behalf of McGarrah can do so on the school's relay team's web site within the Relay for Life of Clayton County web site.
The school held a yard sale last fall, and sold faculty cookbooks at Christmas. It will start a "Pennies for Pizza" campaign in a few weeks. Students from every class will bring in spare change, cash, or checks. The class donating the most money will get to turn its teacher into a human pizza.
"The kids really get into it every year, because it's something fun for them to do, and they get to help other people at the same time," said Penny Williams.
On the Net:
American Cancer Society: www.cancer.org
Relay for Life of Clayton County: www.events.cancer.org/rf/claytonga