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October 13. 2013 8:50PM

Londonderry High School students sign up for cancer fight to honor teacher, mother

LONDONDERRY — Members of the Londonderry High School community are standing up to pancreatic cancer in honor of a longtime teacher who lost her mother to the disease.

Film and radio production teacher Karen Robinson said her students didn't hesitate to help out the cause after hearing how the cancer had affected her family.

"I've been involved in the cause since my mother was diagnosed," Robinson said. "When my students found out, they immediately wanted to help out."

In 2010, she and her students filmed a documentary at the Rockingham County VNA and Hospice, where Robinson's mother, Ruth Silverman, was once a patient. Silverman died in August 2010 at the age of 76, just one month after her diagnosis.

Earlier this month, Advanced Television Production and Radio Club students recorded public service announcements advancing the third annual Purple Light National Vigil of Hope, which will take place at Veterans Park in Manchester on Oct. 27.

The candlelight vigil kicks off National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month in November.

Students from the high school's Pay It Forward Club, a community service group that volunteers at various charity events over the course of the school year, will also be helping out at the vigil.

"They'll be working behind the scenes, as well as setting up the park and breaking down after the vigil," Robinson said.

Organization spokesman Aimee Sherman said she was touched by the teens' selflessness.

"Many of us in the community have been affected by this disease, and every purple light tells a story," she said. "The vigil gives us an opportunity to gain both comfort and encouragement to one another while drawing attention to pancreatic cancer."

According to statistics provided by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, the disease has the lowest five-year survival rate (6 percent) of all major cancers.

This year, more than 45,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the United States. About 73 percent of all patients die within the first year of diagnosis.

For more information visit www.pancan.org.

The Londonderry High School PSA will be available on the school's cable access channel, LEO-21, rather than the town's local access channel.

The PSA may also be viewed online via the district website, www.londonderry.org.

aguilmet@newstote.com


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