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Turlock high schools come together to fight cancer
Relay for life photo 4
Community members donate money at the Turlock High Relay for Life booth.

High school students all over Turlock are looking to make a difference this academic year.

Students from Turlock High School, Pitman High School and Turlock Christian High School have decided to come together to fight for a cure for cancer by forming Relay for Life teams and clubs. This will be the first year for all three high schools to have teams present at the Relay for Life community event that benefits the American Cancer Society to be held in April 2011.

“We are excited to get high schools students out there to raise money for the cause,” said Kristen Bettencourt, co-adviser for the Relay for Life club at Turlock High School.

High schoolers are excited too about being a part of something bigger than themselves.

“Hearing those stories really touches you,” said Riley Rubins, a senior at Turlock High. “It is such a great feeling to know what you’re doing can help them and possibly save their lives.”

And because of that feeling, students from all three high schools have participated in the Relay for Life event raising funds to find a cure for cancer.

Pitman High has participated in the Relay for Life event for the past three years, Turlock High has had a Relay for Life team for the past eight years and this is Turlock Christian’s first year.

“I joined because my grandma passed away when I was in sixth grade,” said Diamond Linan, senior at Turlock High. “It helped me be a part of making a difference.”

Even with the yearly teams at the Relay for Life event, Turlock High has taken it to the next level with a school club on campus this year.

“The club is smaller so the students are able to connect more,” Linan said. “We fundraise more and we pump each other up to build hope to find a cure for cancer.”

Turlock High’s club consists of about 35 students and the club is responsible for fundraising and spreading the cause of fighting cancer all year long.

“The kids are motivated sooner,” Bettencourt said. “They are so involved that we wanted to make a club to produce more fundraisers on campus.”

Every year, Turlock High raises $10,000 to find a cure for cancer and they are hoping with this club they can raise even more.

So far the club has had a penny drive where they hope to reach the $10,000 goal by April 2011, Linan said.

“The club is about starting to raise funds early in the year,” Rubins said. “We want to get Relay for Life more involved with Turlock High students. With this club, everybody knows what Relay for Life is all year long.”

Currently, Turlock High is the only high school with a Relay for Life club, Bettencourt said. But Turlock Christian is well on their way to forming a team and a club for their first year participating in the Relay for Life event.

“We are excited to support the survivors and sufferers of cancer and raise money for the community to fight cancer,” said Piedy Callahan, director of development and special projects at Turlock Christian.

To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.