Commonwealth Journal

Local News

March 2, 2013

Science Hill School honors classmates stricken with leukemia

Science Hill —  

What began at Science Hill School as an effort to honor two classmates fighting leukemia took a sudden turn in February when Chanissa “Nissa” Robinson, 14, lost her battle with the disease.
But organizers for the “Relay Recess,” an event for the American Cancer Society, knew Nissa’s passing made the event all the more important for the school’s more than 500 students — many of whom were grappling with Nissa’s death or were classmates of first grader Kelly Melton, who is now fighting his own battle with leukemia. 
“We were doing it (the Relay Recess) in honor (of Kelly and Nissa), so now it’s in memory and in honor,” said Science Hill school nurse Greta Mounce, one of several organizers behind the event.
Mounce isn’t a stranger to cancer and its effects. She used to work in a cancer treatment center as a nurse, and she’s watched as loved ones have lost their battles with the disease.
She, even now, has family members who are fighting cancer.
That connection — knowing someone who has fought the disease — is one reason why the school’s staff looked into bringing the Relay Recess to Science Hill. The fact that the school’s students, the youngest members of the Science Hill family, now knew classmates fighting the disease made it even more important to have the event. 
And Nissa’s death turned the event into one of remembrance as much as education. 
Students spent much of Friday learning about cancer and its ravages — and about ways to prevent the disease. 
“Students at these ages have such a passion in learning, so what better time to teach them about cancer prevention than now?” asked Brooke Whitis, community representative with the American Cancer Society. “They learn together as a team about how nutrition, physical activity, sun protection, and tobacco prevention can help them avoid cancer.”  

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