It is almost unimaginable to think about a child battling cancer, but it happens more than we think. Unfortunately, in the past five years, Patchogue-Medford has had students who were diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma and brain cancer. This year alone we had two students diagnosed with bone cancer. Bone cancer is a cancerous tumor of the bone that destroys normal bone tissue.

Airen Craig, a ninth-grade student and former Canaan Elementary student, was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, which is a form of bone cancer. At Canaan we supported many fundraisers throughout the district.

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Many fundraising events have taken place, including auctions, 50/50 raffle and a paint night at a local restaurant. The PTA has done events at local places such as Friendly’s, and all proceeds were donated to the families. A concert was held at a restaurant with local bands, and the money collected benefited not only the students but also two staff members with cancer. Here at Canaan, two students came up with an idea called the Jar of Hope. A jar was placed in all 11 buildings in the Patchogue-Medford school district and collected coins to donate to the families.

The largest fundraiser that we have hosted for the past four years is the Stick It to Cancer floor hockey tournament. Students from grades nine to 12, teachers, administrators and support staff all play in the tournament. With WBLI there playing music, it is not only a fun event to play in, it’s a great event to watch, and we collect a lot of money for the families. In Patchogue-Medford nobody fights alone — our community is very caring and generous.