Club Spotlight: Cancer Kids First

Siri Surapaneni

Roohi Sanka, club co-president and junior 

What do you do during club meetings?

During our Cancer Kids First (CKF) meetings, we focus on brainstorming fundraising ideas and introducing volunteering opportunities. Most importantly, we put together care packages, make cards, plan our oncology newsletter and more.

Why did you want to found Cancer Kids First?

I initially became really interested in starting a Carmel chapter at our school after seeing a post from another CKF chapter. I, myself, am extremely interested in oncology, and through this, I have realized how difficult access to proper and effective cancer treatment can be. I wanted to do as much as possible in order to reduce that stress on cancer patients, and I thought that creating a Carmel chapter (of CKF) could be incredibly helpful. Especially because CHS has 5,000 students, I wanted to use the advantage of having so many people to make our impact even greater. I have done some cancer research, and knowing I can not only do something for patients in the future, but also now as well, is something that has really motivated me.

What changes have you seen from the start of this club to now?

I have seen a lot of development in the projects we want to put together, which is thanks to our amazing members who have been really dedicated. We have fundraised some money and really want to continue doing so. We also are in the process of sending care packages to the St. Vincent’s (hospitals), which we are really excited for.

What are some activities or fundraisers you guys plan to put on during this year?

We are planning to introduce a cancer newsletter, which may include articles, Instagram posts and potential podcast episodes that will really help students like us really understand the negative impact cancer can have on patients, as well as scientifically understanding what cancer really involves. In addition, we definitely want to do as many fundraising events as possible. We are planning on partnering with Sprinkle of Joy to fundraise by selling their baked goods, which we are super excited for. We are definitely going to be doing several give-back nights, movie nights, board game fundraisers and much more. We also are going to be doing a lot of volunteering activities like making care packages, writing cards for patients and spreading the word overall. We will also be holding book and toy drives to send to cancer patients.

Roohi Sanka and Lorna Ding, Cancer Kids First co-presidents and juniors, inform club members about ongoing activities. Sanka said members meet every gold Monday after school in room B213. (Siri Surapaneni)

What types of students are recommended to join this club?

If you are interested in volunteering, cancer research, medicine or anything in relation to that you are welcome to join. We are planning on developing not only a volunteering and fundraising part to our club but also one that revolves around the science behind cancer and giving exposure to new research and treatment.

Why do you hope people join this club?

I really hope people join Cancer Kids First to help us grow our impact for those pressured by cancer, for those who may not have access to treatment and for those impacted by family and friends who have cancer. If you love to volunteer, are creative, want volunteer hours, are interested in medicine or simply want a group to be involved in, CKF is a good club to join.

What is the main goal or purpose for this club? 

Increasing exposure to cancer is something that is so important because knowing how to protect oneself as well as others can be so incredibly worth it. Making people aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer can help save as many lives as possible. Awareness can make testing much more accessible if more people are knowledgeable about it. As (cancer is the) second leading cause of death, doing a little can mean so much.

Scott Seymour, club sponsor

What is your name and role within Cancer Kids First?

My name is Scott Seymour and I am the sponsor of Cancer Kids First.

When are your club meetings?

Our club meetings are usually every gold Monday after school in Room B213.

What do you want to see Cancer Kids First achieve in the future? 

I am just looking forward to seeing the type of outreach they want to do. I believe they are still in the planning stages (of the activities). Especially because it is the holiday season, this is a time I would expect there is going to be some type of outreach to the kids that are in need of some holiday cheer.

What are some activities or fundraisers you plan to put on during this year?

I know (club members) are brainstorming ideas right now and are setting concrete plans. I know they were talking about knitting blankets, donating blankets or possibly visiting kids in hospitals.

Why do you think cancer awareness is so important?

As a cancer survivor myself, I just know that when someone has a disease such as (cancer) it can be a crushing blow. These kids are not fully mature, and they’re going through such a rough spot at such an early age. They need whatever support you can give them which they will appreciate.