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Shrewsbury students join Relay for Life

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Shrewsbury – Team Coolidge & Company, including dozens of fourthgraders, took to the track again this year at the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life (RFL) of Shrewsbury May 14 and 15. Being part of the relay has become a rite of passage for fourth-graders at Calvin Coolidge School. Coolidge teachers gather Friday afternoon to set up camp and relay for the first 15 hours. As day breaks Saturday morning, they prepare to welcome students to the relay.

Team Captain Joan O’Brien, a speech and language pathologist for 13 years at Coolidge School, organized the team five years ago in honor of then Coolidge student Jacob Boudreau. “Jacob was a third-grader whose can- page cer had been in remission but

he was sick again,” O’Brien said. “I saw a flyer about the Relay and asked some teachers to begin a team. That first year, the team only included teachers. The following year, when Jacob was in fourth grade, the students were invited to participate.”

Joan credited their core team of eight to 10 teachers with pulling together to make the group’s efforts successful year after year. “Being involved in the Relay has been a wonderful experience for me. It’s grown into a project filled with a great deal of emotion and satisfaction. I’ve had fabulous support and commitment from a great team of friends and colleagues. With them, along with ongoing support from the whole Coolidge community, we’ve been able to come together and honor so many of our loved ones as we celebrate and remember their lives.”

Each year the team meets with all the fourth-graders to talk about the Relay, invite them to be involved and pledge sheets are given out to those who choose to participate. Any donation collected earns the student a team T-shirt sponsored by Shrewsbury Federal Credit Union. Students hold fundraisers such as a lollipop sale by the Student Council.

“Each year 30 to 40 fourthgraders participate in some way,” O’Brien said. “The students join us at the track on Saturday morning and it really is just what the tired team needs! The kids bring us awesome energy. It’s great to see them join together with their families, friends and classmates to participate in this community event. I hope to help instill in them the importance of participating in worthy causes like the Relay for Life. They’re not too young to experience the power of coming together for a good cause, appreciating all we have, and helping to spread that support to others. Jacob inspired this and he represented it.”

According to O’Brien, Jacob Boudreau was sorely missed at the Relay this year; he passed away April 13 at the age of 12. “Jacob inspired me to start this team and it really brings people together,” O’Brien said. “Being part of the Relay brings out the best in everyone. This year’s Relay will feel very different to us. The loss of Jacob is a painful reminder of why we relay.”

The RFL of Shrewsbury was held May 14 at 6 p.m. through May 15 at noon at the Oak Middle School track. For more information on the Relay, or to make a donation, please visit www.cancer.org or call the Worcester ACS office 508-270-4600.

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=7181

Posted by on May 28 2010. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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