November 1, 2019
By Kelli Gile, WVUSD Office of Community Resources
WALNUT, CA--Sporting yellow t-shirts, tutus, and headbands, South Pointe Middle School students jogged laps on a grassy field during a morning Color Run.
The special event held during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month was designed to raise funds, spread understanding, and to honor seventh-grade student Bryson Yang who lost his battle with leukemia this past January.
“The ‘one dollar, one day, one lap’ slogan also taught students that it doesn’t take a lot to make a difference when people come together for something they’re passionate about,” according to Principal Dr. Susan Arzola.
“And for us it was our student and fighting cancer,” she said.
Local sheriff deputies, firefighters, and Walnut Valley USD officials lined up to offer high-fives as students completed their laps during the September 26 event.
“I’m emotional at the support with all our 1,000 kids and teachers out here,” said counselor Chris Sandoval who helped organize a week-long campaign that raised over $4,200 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“I saw smiles, emotion, and lots of donations - so today’s a beautiful day that came from tragedy,” he said.
Special guests in attendance included Bryson’s parents, James and Kelly Yang, and his sister, Breanna, a junior at Diamond Bar High.
“We are hoping to raise awareness that someday there will be a cure,” Breanna said.
The proactive 16-year-old pushed through her own grief by founding a Sunshine Club on campus last year to brighten the spirits of children battling cancer.
Breanna saw the need after witnessing firsthand the heartbreaking struggles and sufferings that young patients endured during her brother’s one year of treatment.
“It inspired me to do something special for them,” she shared.
Last year, the team of like-minded high school students delivered Halloween treats and Christmas gifts to all patients on the oncology floor at Children’s Hospital of Orange County.
In September, members were busy raising funds for pediatric cancer research by collecting donations and selling used books in front of local grocery stores every weekend.
The Sunshine Club is currently focused on collecting new toys for young oncology patients from November 1 - December 8.
“Knowing that many children will have to spend their Christmas in the hospital, we would like to bring them some holiday spirit,” Breanna said.
Breanna, who serves as the club’s president, also contacted Walnut Valley USD Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor about sharing the message at all 15 schools.
The schools chief wholeheartedly supported the plan and the Board of Trustees approved a resolution declaring September 2019 as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
After the unanimous vote, several families in attendance were moved to donate to the cause and pressed crisp dollar bills into Breanna’s hand.
“I’ll always remember my brother’s words, ‘no child deserves cancer,’” Breanna said.
“Together we can make this a reality.” Please donate to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at: http://events.StJude.org/sunshineclub.
To contribute to a new toy during the Sunshine Club holiday drive, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Morning of Sunshine! South Pointe Middle School hosts Color Run to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Diamond Bar High School junior Breanna Yang (holding proclamation) and fellow Sunshine Club members are raising funds and bringing awareness to fight childhood cancer.
Every Dollar Counts! Families contribute to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital during the September Walnut Valley USD Board Meeting. Shown: DBHS junior Breanna Yang and parents.