The Student News Site of Pella High School


The Student News Site of Pella High School


The Student News Site of Pella High School


Knoxville Relay Team Runs For Cancer


Pella High associate April DeRaad is a part of the Knoxville Cancer Relay Team, which is a branch of the American Cancer Society. Every year they run a five mile loop over the course of 24 hours to raise money to help support families in Marion County who are battling cancer.

This year though, they decided to do something bigger. 

“Since it was our 10-year anniversary, we decided to run across the state. So that’s what we did,” explained DeRaad.

Each member of the relay team ran 5 miles before relaying to the next person. Although they ran individually, the team helped each other continue on the arduous run.

“I don’t think we could have done a run across the state without our team motivation and having this cause to run for,” said DeRaad. “It’s the team motivation for sure, that keeps us all together and going.”

DeRaad also has her own personal reasons that keep her motivated and doing this every year.

“For me, I joined the team, because I have actually lost all of my family to cancer, so I’ve been a cancer caregiver for many years, so that’s what inspired me to do it,” DeRaad explained. “Each year, there’s always somebody new to run for, somebody who’s been touched by this.”

As they prepared for the relay across the state, they notified each town that they would hit on the route. The response was better than they imagined.

“Sigourney was amazing. They had the whole town and the whole entire school out on the street,” said DeRaad. “Running through there and just having so many people was amazing. They had signs, they had people handing us stuff, and we were high-fiving all of the little kids. That was definitely super cool.”

However, the runs are not without their challenges and scary moments.

“We’ve had semis fly around us. We’ve had dogs come out running after us. One of our team members got attacked by an owl,” exclaimed DeRaad.

Through the celebrations and the challenges, the Knoxville Cancer Relay Team raised more money than they ever have before. They raised over $30,000.

“The nice thing is, this money goes straight to a family or two in Marion County that are fighting cancer,” states DeRaad. “We usually have our home men’s basketball game, and that’s where we present the check to the family directly.”

If this adventure sounds like something that you’d be interested in, DeRaad has a few pieces of advice.

“I would say that my biggest advice is that people tend to shy away because they think that maybe they won’t make that big of a difference,” says DeRaad. “You’re always making an impact; you’re always affecting somebody.”

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