Long-time Indian Lake Middle School teacher and sarcoma cancer survivor Jean Newmeyer is on a new mission as she leads the ILMS 2018 Mini Relay for Life.
Newmeyer and several of her family members headed up the Survivor Lap at the annual event May 22.
Last year, Newmeyer was unable to attend the ILMS Relay because she was hospitalized due to complications with her cancer. Since then, she has returned to the classroom for her 34th year of teaching, as she continues her sarcoma treatments for the rest of her life.
It’s been a rough year. Newmeyer’s father passed away unexpectedly earlier this spring. For that reason, Newmeyer says the ILMS Survivor Lap is bittersweet.
“It’s great to see everybody out, to smack their hands and to have my family along. It was pretty emotional having them here and knowing what we’ve been through the past couple of years. We’re still battling.”
Throughout the day grade levels took turns walking the track and lined up for a chance to soak teachers and administrators in the Dunk Tank. Inside the school, students ran an obstacle course in the gym, painted faces, ate and played other games. They also bought yellow bandanas, beads and other trinkets on honor of the color yellow for sarcoma awareness.
In the past, the ILMS Mini Relay for Life has been a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. However, this year the money raised will go toward Newmeyer’s own upcoming event. The Inaugural Race to Cure Sarcoma will take place June 17th, Father’s Day, in Cleveland where Newmeyer receives her monthly treatments.
Newmeyer says she had to do something to help others like her. “That was my plan, to give back and to get some cancer research money for funding to sarcoma. Since it’s so rare and aggressive, it doesn’t get the funding.”
Less than 1% of all cancers are classified as sarcomas.
So far, Newmeyer and her team of doctors and supporters have raised more than $70,000 and have more than 300 participants signed up to take part in the 5K run/walk at Cleveland’s Edgewater Park starting at 9 am. The goal is $120,000. Newmeyer explains the funds will go to the Sarcoma Foundation of America to support sarcoma research grants and hospitals that treat sarcoma patients.
Several other local survivors joined Jean and her family at the ILMS Relay for Life Survivors Lap. They include: Lorna Brunson, Julie Dague, Gayle Dye, Jenny Kimbler and Ron Swonguer.
Submitted by the Indian Lake school district.