MFL MarMac holds annual cancer awareness event

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

On Jan. 28, MFL MarMac finally got to hold the second part of this year’s cancer awareness event, after it was postponed due to weather earlier in January. 

During a morning assembly, students—dressed in a variety of awareness colors—listened to choir director Jaydeane Berns, who had melanoma when she was in her 20s, speak about her experience. 

“As of next month, I’ll be a 26-year survivor thanks to early detection,” she told those gathered, noting that she discovered an irregular mole, which prompted her to get checked out.

Berns stressed the importance of using sunscreen and other protective measures from the sun, as well as avoiding tanning beds.

“I want to emphasize that each of you only has one body,” she said. “You need to make smart health and skin decisions.”

Other assemblies highlights included the choir singing Martina McBride’s song “I’m Gonna Love You Through It,” along with seven donations of hair to Pantene’s Pony Up program, which makes wigs for cancer patients. Those donating included students Shane Hexom, Marissa Reichard, Jessica Kricke, Bailey Martins, Emily Stagman and Chaun’te Drahn, as well as teacher Liz Hammerly. 

Several of the girls—Reichard, Martins and Stagman—had all donated hair at least once before. Reichard had been growing her hair out for 2.5 years, she said, “to make a little girl’s day.”

Kristin Morrissey, owner of Aquarius Salon and Spa in Monona, helped with many of the hair cuts. She said it was an emotional moment for her because following the program, she was headed to a client’s home to help her shave her head, as her hair was falling out from cancer treatment.

“I challenge every girl next year [to donate],” she said. “We can go down the line, snip, snip.”

Following the program, students and staff all headed outside for a balloon release, watching dozens of colored balloons—each representing a cancer awareness color—float into the sky.

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