“Recess for Life” helps kids give back

Some kids in Biggsville, Illinois got to live out a dream and it left their principals with pie on their faces.

But, it was all to teach kids one of the hardest lessons of life.

The sound of a crowd of screaming kids was drowned out Tuesday by the words of gratitude from one of five teachers at West Central Elementary School as a part of Recess for Life, which is an offshoot of the cancer research fundraiser Relay for Life.

“I do want to thank all of you for your prayers and everything,” said Shari Richard, who’s battling Stage Four lung cancer.

“The kids make things positive for you,” said Richard. “You have a reason to live.”
But, Shari isn’t alone.

Four other staff members and a fourth grader have or are also battling the disease.

“I could not have gotten through without all the support from my students and all the teachers at the school,” said Julie Courtois, who’s a survivor. “It was wonderful.”

The highlight of the day was a pie in the face of the principal and assistant principal.

“I thought it was pretty funny,” said one student. Another described it as “awesome.”

“It’s a way that the kids can feel like they can do something,” said Kristi Lubeck, a teacher who organized the school’s fundraiser. “Kids don’t always think that they can make a difference.”

As for teachers fighting cancer, like Shari, the silver lining is seen when they look at their students’ faces.

“It’s nice to know that when you get up in the morning, somebody’s going to smile and tell you that it’s a good day.”

The kids raised more than $1,500 for cancer research.

Two of the teachers at West Central are involved in clinical trials made possible through funding raised by these types of organizations.