School right behind event

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The Green Island School community is rallying around one of its own as the school prepares to put a team in next month’s Relay for Life Dunedin 2016 event.
Teacher Heidi Newman, who was diagnosed with breast cancer late last year, was determined to take part in a relay once she had finished her treatment. She will join a team of 24 other staff members, family and friends, in the November event.
Team leader Philippa Hayward said they had ‘‘no trouble whatsoever’’ filling their team, named The Green Island Allsorts.
Mrs Hayward, who is a friend of Mrs Newman’s and is married to Green Island School principal Steve Hayward, said she and a friend visited Mrs Newman soon after her diagnosis last year and asked what they could do to help.
‘‘Heidi said: ‘When I get over this I want to form a Relay for Life team’.’’
So they did, albeit with less time to prepare as the event was rescheduled from March 2017 to November 2016.
Mrs Hayward said ‘‘people had been amazing’’, and fundraising had started back in February when a parent offered a trailerload of wood to help.
Since then, they have raised more than $3000 ahead of the Cancer Society event, selling scratchies, delivering fertiliser for the Green Island Lions and having a stall at the recent Green Island gala day, with raffles and face-painting.
Mrs Newman said pupils from her years 2 and 3 class had ‘‘journeyed with her’’, asking questions about her cancer treatment and supporting her, even sending her cards while in hospital.
‘‘All the children in my class have been amazing.’’
Mrs Newman said she had told parents the children were able to ask questions so it could be ‘‘more transparent’’ and help to make people less scared of the disease.
‘‘I wanted to be open about it. . .it affects everybody in life these days, if it’s not a family member or a mate or friends.’’
Year 4 teacher Robert Kennedy said he had been encouraging his male colleagues to grow their hair, including beards, to eventually shave off to raise money for the Cancer Society.
The team had got the right to run a public midnight movie screening, and to raise funds from it, as part of the two-day Relay for Life event, Mrs Hayward said.