Mound Park students again raise money for cancer research

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published May 24, 2012

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WARREN — The spirit of Tara Brady lives on at Mound Park Elementary School.

Brady was a third-grade student at the school when she lost her battle with an aggressive form of cancer a few years ago.

On May 18, students and staff laced up their sneakers and walked laps for the school’s second annual Relay For Recess to raise money for the American Cancer Society and also honor Brady.

Mound Park is part of Fitzgerald Public Schools. Fourth-grade teacher Lori Stone organized the event. At press time, about $724 had been raised.

To raise money, students sold paper footprints for $1 each and luminaria bags for $10 each. Teachers also had the opportunity to dress casual for one week. If they did, they had to fork over $5, which went toward the fundraiser.

Brady was a student in Becky Girling’s classroom at the time of her passing. The young girl, who hadn’t been feeling well, was diagnosed in February with cancer and passed away that July.

“She aged beyond her years. She seemed insightful and wise,” Girling said. “After she knew it was terminal, she had a different perspective on life. Obviously, a lot of us have been touched by someone with cancer.”

Girling said Grant would have loved the Relay Recess.

“She would just be in awe of it.”

Prior to the relay — which included jump roping and hula-hoop activities — the students learned several cancer prevention tips.

“Over the last month, we’ve done different challenges and activities for the four main risks,” Stone said.

The students were encouraged to participate in 60 minutes of physical activity five days a week, as well as follow a healthy diet. Avoiding tobacco products and “sun safety” also were addressed.

Third-grader Amina Hafiz vowed to walk 20 laps around the school’s track.

“I’m having fun,” she said. “I like being outside. You get (to do) activities and help people who have cancer.”

“I’m trying to run about 15 laps,” Akqib Hussain said. “This is my 14th lap. I need to get one more to get 15.”

The third-grader liked the idea of an American Cancer Society benefit.

“It makes me feel good because people die every day and every year,” he said. “I’m trying to make them feel good about themselves.”

Three of Brady’s siblings attend Mound Park: fifth-grader Bianca, third-grader Isabella and first-grader Brieanna. Brother Jonathan is in preschool.

“She was the best sister,” Isabella said of her late sibling. “She would always play with us even when she had cancer, even when her legs hurt. She had the best time with us. We had the best time with her.”

On relay day, the students filled up on fresh fruits and vegetables donated by parents. Donated water came from a local Kroger store.

The school also holds a toy drive every Christmas in Brady’s memory. Toys are collected at Mound Park and then delivered to the oncology unit at Children’s Hospital in Detroit.

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