Kids quickly whip up bake sale to support breast cancer research
Methow Valley Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Jennifer Duguay had a bad case of the burps. Her doctor scheduled an ultrasound to check her gall bladder and asked, “when was your last mammogram?”
It had been a few years, so the doctor scheduled a mammogram because Duguay would be in the imaging neighborhood that day, and it’s recommended that women receive regular mammograms.
The mammogram revealed a tiny lump. At that discovery, Duguay’s life became a whirlwind of appointments, tests and surgery. The burps were unrelated, but those lucky belches led to an early diagnosis of breast cancer.
Before she left school for her surgery, sixth-grader Chicane came by Duguay’s classroom to borrow some speakers for a project he was working on. She told him she would need them returned as soon as he was finished. He asked why the rush, and Duguay, always open with her students, explained she would have a substitute teacher who would be using the speakers when she began her cancer treatment.
“It hit me,” Chicane said as he gently tapped a spot just above his ear. “I had to think about it,” he said about processing the news. He was afraid for his former teacher, and concerned, and then became determined to try to do something to help. He and his friends came up with a plan.
“We were sitting around the table in the library, talking about what we could do,” explained Darra, also a sixth-grader at Methow Valley Elementary. The boys and their group at the table looked to their friend Asher. “He’s a really good baker,” Darra explained. “A pastry chef,” Chicane clarified.
Signs and goodies
After assembling a team, the boys set to work. They contacted Hank’s Harvest Foods in Twisp, but learned that the Girl Scouts were setting up a table that weekend. They then contacted Methow Valley Thriftway in Winthrop. Signs were made and goodies were baked.
Chicane made pumpkin bread and lemon bundt cake, Darra and Brodie made brownies, lemon bars and cookie bars, Kaden whipped up Rice Krispy treats and cheese biscuits, and Asher made a “bunch of cakes” — all professional looking and covered with a deep pink icing.
On Sunday morning (April 14), the team — which also included students Alex, Samuel, Malcolm, Arlen, Malloch and Forrest — set up tables spread with the goodies they had each made. They took turns helping customers, answering questions, and dancing alongside the road, waving signs to attract the public.
When team members were tired of shouting and waving alongside the highway, they returned to the table and a fresh crew ran out to continue the “sign spinning.”
The boys had a goal of raising $300 to donate in Duguay’s name to the American Cancer Society of Washington. At the end of the day, the industrious young men raised $625.77.
When Duguay heard what her students had done, she was touched — and proud. “Liberty Bell is an International Baccalaureate (IB) school,” she said. “The IB action cycle teaches kids to see a problem, figure out what they can do about it, and then do something — we start teaching these ideas in kindergarten.”
One in eight women will develop breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms for women between the ages of 45 and 54, and semi-annual for ages 55 and up. Whether you feel a lump or not, ask your doctor to schedule a baseline mammogram.