Cancer Society impacts cancer awareness one step at a time


Seniors Secretary Jozie Yen and Activities Director Joanne Liu get events ready for the school year

By Katelynn Ngo

H HS Cancer Society has been tirelessly preparing and planning for their annual 5K walk/run already, their biggest event of the year. They’ll be setting up a course in the stadium on the morning of Saturday, March 31st, and all people are welcome to come and join them to help raise money for cancer patients.

There are smaller events also, such as their Light the Night volunteering event in San Jose — another walking event — which will involve people who have went through the hard journey of surviving cancer, people who have lost someone to cancer or know someone who is going through cancer right now, and even people who just simply want to support cancer patients. Each of these people will hold at least one lantern, symbolizing their motivation for being there. A few other events include writing letters to chemotherapy patients, and their Pura Vida bracelet fundraiser.

One thing all of these events have in common is Cancer Carepoint, which is a nonprofit organization that helps cancer patients, but not in the way you might usually hear or think.

“Cancer Carepoint is different than other organizations. They don’t donate money to look for a cure, they donate money directly to patients or families of patients going through treatment and stuff. They have therapy sessions, they have yoga, they have massages just to help people going through treatment,” Senior Jozie Yen said, who is Cancer Society’s secretary.

In fact, the origins of Cancer Society has always been linked to this organization. Four years ago, a French teacher at Homestead was diagnosed with cancer. Two of her students, inspired by her diligent journey against cancer, came up with the idea of a Cancer Society. After her chemotherapy, she actually went to Cancer Carepoint for massages and treatments. Since then, Cancer Society has vigorously been trying to form a direct partnership with Cancer Carepoint, with their past officers having to present in front of the district many times.

Their partnership and collaboration with Cancer Carepoint isn’t the only unique characteristic of Cancer Society.

“Unlike other organizations and big volunteer clubs, our club is really concentrated in this one subject area, and we have a really focused mission… Instead of trying to fund research — cause we don’t know when a cure will come out — I feel like we’re doing our best to help the people using the things that we have right now,” Senior Joanne Liu said, who is Cancer Society’s activities director.

Cancer Society isn’t just about people who are currently going through cancer currently, but also those who have survived cancer.

“Even if they do survive, their life after they’re free of cancer — they’re different. Part of our goal is to help those people as well. It’s kind of like you stick with them during their fight and after too,” Liu said.

This acknowledgement of the struggles a cancer survivor has after their fight is not something our society thinks of very much today. Fighting against cancer and winning in itself is an amazing thing, but life afterwards is rarely so easy. By donating proceeds to Cancer Carepoint, Cancer Society is ensuring that their money goes to those struggling survivors.

Another aim of their club is to spread awareness about cancer, which is something they believe is crucial.

“It’s a prominent issue in our society. It’s often misunderstood in terms of anyone who has cancer doesn’t always win the battle. But, I think spreading awareness also helps people understand that there are people who’ve survived, and they’re here to tell their story,” Yen said.

Both Yen and Liu believe that all the help they’ve gotten has come from the support of others.

“I think Cancer Society comes from the good of the people in our community. Because, it’s like putting in your own personal time to help someone you may not know, but you know that you’re helping someone,” said Yen.