By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Westborough – Westborough High School (WHS) junior Elizabeth Gallary has made it her mission to raise awareness and support for cancer research. The disease hits close to home for Gallary who is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer.
“My great-uncle is currently fighting lung cancer, my cousin is fighting lymphoma, and another great-uncle is fighting a form of blood cancer. I also have an aunt who passed away when she was a baby from neuroblastoma (brain tumor),” said Gallary, who added that she also has an aunt in remission from breast cancer.
Gallary is inspired by the people in her life who have lost their battles with cancer, or who have fought or are fighting the disease.
“I knew that this disease, which had affected so many people in my life, was not going to end itself, and I decided I wanted to do something about it,” Gallary said.
She realized that cancer has not only touched her life, but the lives of many of the staff and students at Westborough High School and within the Westborough community.
Last spring Gallary teamed up with friend and fellow WHS student Grace Taylor, whose mother was battling breast cancer, to start the nonprofit club, Rangers for a Cure.
“Rangers for a Cure is an opportunity for students who have been touched by cancer in some way to organize themselves in the effort to promote awareness, educate the school community on prevention, causes, and ways to help, as well as conduct fundraising events that allow students to feel involved,” said WHS principal Brian Callaghan. “I hope part of their efforts include a ‘public service campaign’ to educate students about the ways to decrease the chance one gets cancer.”
Rangers for a Cure hopes to offer support within the community by providing meals and services to those in need; sponsoring drives for food, gift cards, and personal supplies to those undergoing treatments; supporting local homes for cancer patients and their families such as Sherry's House, the Neeley House, and the American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge; taking part in fundraising events such as Making Strides, Dig Pink, Relay for Life, and the Pancreatic Cancer Walk; volunteering at Camp Sunshine, a retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses; and hosting events within the community and at WHS to support many of the organizations, foundations, and programs supporting cancer patients and research.
To date, Rangers for a Cure has held or participated in the following fundraising events: selling sand art at the Westborough Farmer's Market, selling pink wristbands at the volleyball Dig Pink event, selling cake pops at the WHS homecoming festival, participating in the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, selling chocolate dipped pretzels outside of Roche Brothers, and organizing “Rangers Tackle Leukemia.” The money raised from each event – over $3,000 – goes to a different organization.
“We support all types of cancer, so we try to mix up which type of cancer we are supporting and where we are donating the money from each event. We hope to continue to be able to choose charities that will mean something or support someone important to the students and teachers at WHS,” Gallary explained.
Rangers for a Cure meets every other Tuesday and currently has over 100 members. The club advisor is history teacher Colleen Gormley.
“Ms. Gormley is so great and supportive of everything we have done,” Gallary said, “and we are so grateful to have such a wonderful advisor. The high school administration, athletic director, and many of the teachers at the school have also been really supportive.”
For more information on the club, email [email protected] or visit www.rangersforacure.wordpress.com.