Romona's Kids: Making a difference in the fight against cancer, - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Romona's Kids: Making a difference in the fight against cancer, Relay for Life

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Former Strongsville students walking in memory of cancer victim Mary Ann Simon. Former Strongsville students walking in memory of cancer victim Mary Ann Simon.
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STRONGSVILLE, OH (WOIO) -

Some local students are proving that kids can do great things. They're making a difference in the fight against cancer in memory of a teacher who died from the disease. This week's Romona's Kids are in Strongsville.

Mary Ann Simon taught English and Religion at Saints Joseph and John School in Strongsville, but also gave students lessons in service and compassion for others.

"She was the most giving person I've ever known, she was in charge of all the school fundraiser's and she was always helping people," said teacher Mark Beck.

When these students were in 7th grade, they watched as Mrs. Simon battled pancreatic cancer.

"With Mrs. Simon being such a motivational teacher, all the stress that she went through and then we were all there witnessing it, and all had her back," said student Joe Clark.

She made it through the year, but died that summer.

"It was really sad, but we all just stuck together and I think that's why we're doing this," said student Johnny Barna.

During their 8th grade year, the entire class banded together to form a Relay For Life team, and raised over $10,000 for the American Cancer Society. They're now freshmen at high schools all over Northeast Ohio, but reunited to continue their mission.  

Inspiring this year's eighth graders to also form a team, not only in memory of Mrs. Simon, but for family and friends with cancer.

"My aunt recently passed away from cancer so I felt it was kind of necessary for me to do this for her," said student Sarah Sparks.

"My grandpa was recently diagnosed with cancer, and because I just want to raise enough money to try to find a cure for it," said student Matthew Golonka.

"Just because you have an illness like this it doesn't mean that the whole world's over, you can always fight back and there's always a chance for a cure to be found," said student Carly Zunt.

"We have over 100 kids participating and to date, the two teams have raised over 11,000 dollars,  so we're very proud of them," said Becky Zunt, Event co-chair.

"I've been at this school for 31 years and we'd be hard pressed to find two greater groups of kids," said teacher Mark Beck.

The kids also donated a statue of Mary to the school, a constant reminder of a well-loved teacher, and they believe Mrs. Simon is looking down on them, still guiding them.

"I think she'd be very thrilled to see that we're all heading in the right direction and learned from her," said student Joe Clark.

Relay for Life events start at noon, Saturday May 17, 2014 at Pat Catan Stadium and they'd love it if people would come cheer them on.

CLICK HERE FOR EVENT DETAILS

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