Megan Vandeberghe ‘16 – The players tread across the green field and fearless warriors dressed in a rainbow of colors make their way to the center. The lights glisten in the evening air while rivals join hands as brothers and sisters. Tears of optimism fall from the eyes of those affected. Who could have guessed that such a small town would begin a larger-than-life movement?

This is hope; this is Watchdog Week, binding strangers as friends, and friends as family.

For six years, going on seven, Watchdog Week raises a substantial amount of money, all contributed to cancer research. It dedicates the event to those who battled, or currently struggle with different types of cancer.

“Hope is something I look to when everything else is dark,” Mitchell Adkins ‘16 said. “[It’s] the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Although terminal diseases seem like they’d never upset a small town, they shake members of the community to the core. Believe it or not, cancer lurks right in our backyard, pounding on the door.

Jake Anderson ‘16, and his father, English teacher Tom Anderson, share their story of undying hope when their family came closer through troubled times.

“I was in second grade when my mom was diagnosed [with breast cancer], so my parents tried to shelter me,” Anderson ‘16 said. “They told me she was sick and was going to get better, so I didn’t know the severity of the situation at the time, but I’m glad they did what they did.”

Anderson later expressed that he felt like one of the lucky ones that his family made it through such a challenging period in life, and his mom made a full recovery.

“Those are scary days when you don’t know what’s going to happen through all the surgery, chemo, and radiation,” Anderson, an RHS English teacher said. “During Watchdog Week I sometimes get choked up; even just walking out on the field, and getting to wear the jersey with my wife’s name on it is special.”

Cancer not only impacts the patients, but all the loving supporters around them. In one way or another, we are all connected in a circle of hope, joined in a well-armored army against a weakening enemy.

“Hope is what’s left when all else fails,” Carly Wilson ‘17 said.
According to thomlatimercares.org, this year in itself, an average of 1,500 people will lose their battle to various types of cancer each day. However, making a difference starts with one person reaching into their community, like a spark igniting a roaring fire.

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