On October 20th, Frederick Douglass Academy (FDA) VIII participated in their annual breast cancer walk around Spring Creek Towers (SCT). Close to 100 sixth, seventh, and eighth graders marched with their teachers from Louisiana Avenue to Seaview Avenue, and then down Pennsylvania Avenue back to their school.
“FDA VIII, what do you want?” shouted Georgia Eddings, a teacher and event coordinator. “A cure for breast cancer!” the students responded with vigor.
The school’s annual breast cancer walk is dear to Eddings’ heart; the disease has taken the life of her grandmother and she was also diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago. It was because of her family’s riddled history with cancer that she decided to be vigilant in her annual mammograms and
“It’s a strange thing to say, but I got breast cancer at the best time because it was detected early. I was spared the harsh treatments because of early detection, and that is why I decided to encourage the school to start this walk in 2007,” Eddings said.
In light of the severity of the disease, the middle schoolers donned pink scarves, shirts, and other items to represent the ongoing fight against breast cancer. Every few minutes the teens clapped their hands and chanted catchy phrases about standing up to breast cancer and the importance of finding a cure.
In addition to the walk, which was voluntary and required a $3 donation, the students sold shirts, bracelets and ribbons. “It’s nice to be a part of something that helps spread awareness to those who either do not know about the disease or won’t do anything to help. I’ve participated in the walk for the past three years, and I’ve learned that awareness saves lives. It’s a serious disease that people should do what they can to receive early detection,” said 12-year-old David Perez, Jr.
FDA VIII is a community service based school that encourages students to stand up for causes, volunteer, and participate in humanitarian acts. For their eighth grade projects, the middle-schoolers are asked to choose a cause, like breast cancer awareness, and become an activist for that cause.
When the teens finished their walk, they gathered in school’s playground, where FDA VIII Humanities teacher, Kathleen Dodd, applauded their efforts. “What we did here today was called activism. You should all be proud of yourselves because you were an activist for breast cancer awareness. You actually did something, and made a change in the community,” Dodd said to the participants.
“It means a lot to me that the children are doing this breast cancer walk. we often teach about causes and how it’s important to be an activist, but we don’t really show them how they can fix the problem. This walk is a model for them to be activists, and hopefully they will go forth and fix the world,” Dodd said.
Photos by Amanda Moses