Students from five schools collaborate for cancer fundraiser

Hawakthon: A Walk to Remember – in memory of Megan McNeil and Tessa Beauchamp – takes place May 27 at Seaquam Secondary School.

Megan McNeil (left) and Tessa Beauchamp

Megan McNeil (left) and Tessa Beauchamp

Students from Seaquam Secondary have collaborated with Burnsview, Delview, North Delta, South Delta and Holy Cross Secondary School students to organize a 5K run/walk to raise money for the BC Childhood Cancer Parents Association (BCCCPA), a registered non-profit society that financially and emotionally supports families with children diagnosed with cancer.

Hawkathon: A Walk to Remember will take place on May 27 at 9:30 a.m. at Seaquam Secondary School, 11584 Lyon Rd.

The event was inspired by the courage and determination demonstrated by students Megan McNeil and Tessa Beauchamp, both of whom showed a tremendous will to survive in times of adversity.

Megan McNeil, an alumni from Seaquam, was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 16 and succumbed to cancer in January 2011 at the age of 20 after battling the disease three times.

Canada AM named her story one of the best of 2010 and CBC’s Connect with Mark Kelley named her story as the most inspirational story of the year.

McNeil wrote the song “The Will to Survive” as a tribute to all the other cancer-fighting children, some of whom she met in chemotherapy wards and hospital hallways during treatment.

Tessa Beauchamp, a Holy Cross High School student, died of cancer in January 2012 at the age of 18.

While close friends of Tessa were beading bracelets in her honour, they accidentally wound up spelling Tessa’s name back-wards – “asset” – appropriate, since she was an asset to her family, friends, basketball teammates and everything she was involved in.

During her four year battle with cancer, she was described as continually compassionate, fearless and selfless.

The Hawkathon walk/run will include post-walk festivities with entertainment, face painting and a barbecue until 11:30 a.m. SONiC Nation will be on location during the entire event and Delta Mayor Lois Jackson will be present to officially cut the starting ribbon.

Registration begins at 8 a.m.

“I was uncertain at first whether the other schools would join this event but am very excited about the support my peers have shown,” said organizer and Seaquam student Klaryssa Pangilinan.

“Childhood cancer or any other childhood illness is so terrible and the tremendous courage these girls showed has really inspired us to work together to help the families who have children facing similar challenges. We can’t bring Tessa or Megan back….but we can help spread their message of courage and compassion.”

While key corporate sponsors Save-on-Foods, Prospera Credit Union and Leah Bach of Remax have committed their support to the event, the students are looking for volunteers, donations and walk/run participants to help make the event successful.

Individual registrations range from $10-$25 and teams of 10-13 receive a $5 discount per person. Children under six are free.

To register, visit https://sites.google.com/site/hawkathonawalktoremember/. For more information, call Klaryssa Pangilinan at 604-543-7963.

This event can also be found on Facebook under the title Hawkathon: A Walk To Remember.