The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

MVHS Contributes

From researching metastasis tumor growth to creating a support organization, students at MVHS are dedicated to not only preventing cancer, but also raising awareness and encouraging outreach through partnerships with outside organizations. MVHS students have joined the crusade against cancer.

Researched metastatic growth in breast cancer

Ever since her sophomore year, senior Natalie Ng has been dedicated to breast cancer research, specifically focusing on predicting metastatic growth, which happens when cancer disperses from the place where it originated to another place in the body. The earlier the detection of metastasis tumor growth, the earlier patients can begin treatments. Ng is studying new ways to kill or cease the growth of primary cancer cells before they reach an irreversible stage.

She also has a personal connection to her research, as some of her relatives and friends have been affected by breast cancer.

“Seeing these people affected by cancer has inspired me to continue my research,” Ng said.

Although she does believe that one day all cancers will be cured, Ng warns those who are too optimistic.

“It will definitely take awhile,” Ng said. “I think people are misinformed. They think one day there will suddenly be a treatment for cancers that will cure all cancers, but you simply can’t create a treatment that cures all cancer. There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ treatment.”

Hosted an annual charity event for cancer

Octagon, a service club, hosts the Cure Cancer Cafe every year. The club raises over $10,000 annually to donate to the American Cancer Society. Over the past 13 years doing Cure Cancer Cafe, Octagon has raised over $120,000 towards cancer research and support. With 300-400 attendees each year, Octagon members invest many hours in planning the venue, food, entertainment and guest speakers. Last year, Class of 2011 alumnus Jack Chin, who recently overcame his battle against leukemia, spoke at the event.

“I think having [Chin] as a speaker really opened up [the participants’] eyes,” Octagon president senior Elaine Tai said.

“You learn about cancer and tumors in biology, but you never ever imagine getting it yourself. It made cancer so much more real.”

When Tai’s own aunt was diagnosed with cancer, her family found itself in a difficult and trying situation. Finding it hard to express her frustration and disappointment to classmates who didn’t seem to understand, Tai tried to suppress her emotions.

“A lot of people who come to this event know of people close to them who have cancer,” Tai said. “But I hope after attending this event, they will know that there are people out there willing to fight for cancer patients. In a sense, we are creating a support group — we’re letting them know it’s okay to cry, you don’t have to hold it in.”

Raised awareness through No-Shave November

Come November, many male students and teachers embark on a one-month journey of hairiness. Many students acknowledge the humor of No-Shave November, but may not understand the origins or purpose of this seemingly ridiculous annual tradition.

According to the NSN website, the goal of NSN is to “grow awareness by embracing our hair, which many cancer patients lose, and letting it grow wild and free.” After men donate the money usually spent on shaving and grooming for a month to prostate cancer prevention education to NSN, the organization donates this money to its partner, the American Cancer society, to increase outreach and funding for cancer research.

Donated hair to Locks of Love

De Anza Middle College student Jackie Do was six years old when she first decided to donate her hair to Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization. Even at a young age, Do felt it was her duty to contribute to cancer victims.

“I didn’t even understand what cancer was,” Do said. “But I heard about the organization and just the thought of me donating my hair and someone else benefitting from it was meaningful.”

As a young girl, Do took her long hair for granted, until she realized that many cancer patients who
undergo chemotherapy have trouble growing their hair back.

Since then, Do has donated her hair four times.

Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization, provides hairpieces for financially disadvantaged children suffering from hair loss. The requirements for donating one’s hair are quite simple- a minimum of 10 inches of undamaged hair.

However, the journey of donating hair wasn’t always so simple for Do. In seventh grade, after receiving an edgier, drastically shorter haircut, Do was the victim of severe bullying in her middle school.

“But then I realized that my hair was going toward people who weren’t as superficial as this,” Do said. “They were going toward people who were grateful to be receiving my hair.”

Through her contributions to Locks of Love, Do has gained a new sense of empowerment.

“Recently, my friend in math class was diagnosed with cancer. She told me how beautiful my hair was, and how she missed her old hair,” Do said. “Something like that really made me feel like I was doing something and empowering others with my hair.”

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