By LILIAN MOHR
Members from the Redlands East Valley H.E.A.L. club joined the American Lung Association’s Lung Force Walk in Ontario, California on Nov. 4.
H.E.A.L. is a club that focuses on the interest in medicine and medical careers within the student body. The club allows students to experience a hands-on learning environment where they are able to practice basic medical skills and techniques that professionals use in medical settings. Members also get to participate in medical and ethical debates that deal with current dilemmas. The leaders inform students of different careers paths that are available within the medical community. They also participate in local fundraising events and meet with local medical professionals. The entire club is run by two senior co-presidents that work to expose high school students to the different options for their future and give them a classroom setting where they can explore their interest in medicine.
After speaking with Tejazvi Gopalan, a ninth-grade student at REV and a member of H.E.A.L. club on why she believed H.E.A.L. was participating in the event she said, “It is mainly to raise awareness about the importance of healthy lungs.” The idea of promoting awareness is similar to The American Lung Association mission statement for the event. The association stated that the Lung Force Walk “unites women and their loved ones across the country to stand together against lung cancer and for lung health.” This Lung Force Walk was a fundraising event to allow members of the community to either run or walk and gather funds for further research and to inform them about the disease while spreading awareness. Having young students, such as Gopalan, participate in the walk allows for awareness to quickly spread throughout the area, which increases the prospects of increased funds for further lung cancer research.
The H.E.A.L. club members started the day off by setting up some of the booths around the main event area. Then the volunteers were assigned their positions within the course. From handing out water bottles to waving pom poms in the air and cheering on the participants, each and every member of the club was involved in the event. As the walkers and runners made their way through the streets, all decked-out in Lung Force’s signature color, teal, it quickly began to appear like a sea of positivity and awareness for patients with Lung Cancer. Within the crowd, there were family and friends of cancer patients and citizens wanting to help spread awareness of Lung Cancer.
After the race came to a close, all participants, volunteers, and staff gathered back at the tent and booth area for snacks, games, awards and closing statements. The awards were given to several “teams” within the participants for categories such as best costumes or most walk attendants. All of the team leaders made several remarks about their gratitude towards all the participants and volunteers as they thanked the crowd for all of their help with making the event a possibility.
Gopalan described the day as, “very rewarding because it felt as if I was working towards a good cause.” “I feel like this event really made a difference because now I am aware of how important a healthy body truly is, especially after I saw lung cancer patients participating in the event,” she said. Gopalan said that the Lung Force walk “gave the H.E.A.L. club and the other volunteers present, a greater understanding of the disease as a whole”.
Quote is taken from https://www.lung.org/