By DAVID GREEN
Cancer is a fact of life in Caitlin Snyder's family. Three of her grandmothers suffer from the disease.
If Caitlyn had her way, it would soon become something that never entered into a conversation. It's an ailment the Morenci fifth grade student wants to see wiped away.
Her grandmother Mary Snyder had been making strides in her fight against cancer, but now it’s back and the problem has been weighing on Caitlin’s mind.
A few weeks ago she decided to do her part in fighting the disease by raising funds for cancer research. First, she needed an idea for making money.
“Everybody reads so I thought they could use a bookmark,” Caitlin said.
Not everybody likes to read, she said, but in her world of middle school, books are used every day and bookmarks would come in handy.
Caitlin serves as the chief sales person, but she’s getting help from friends.
“My principal said that the more help I get, the more money I’ll get,” she said.
She also receives lots of help in creating the bookmarks from her grandmothers. They cut a piece of plastic canvas into the right shape, then make a solid, light-colored background. A ribbon is worked into the pattern, with the color representing various forms of cancer. Orange for leukemia, gray for brain cancer, pink for breast cancer, purple for pancreatic cancer, etc.
One grandmother makes the background, the other creates the ribbon.
Caitlin sells the bookmarks for 25 cents each or five for a dollar. Not all of her buyers see a bookmark, she said. Some kids turn them into bracelets or wear them as pins.
Caitlin sells them by visiting classrooms and she also finds customers in the cafeteria. She’s been pleased with the results, bringing in more than $70 already.
Some students have been very generous.
“One dude gave us his change from lunch which was $2.50 and we got $13 from another dude,” she said.
When she reaches her goal of $100, she’ll give the money to principal Kelli Campbell to have her send a check to a cancer research organization.
Caitlin knows that cancer is a leading cause of death in the United States and she knows if affects more than grandmothers.
“There are tons of kids who die from cancer,” she said. “If you think about it, all around the world there are thousands of kids dying from cancer.”
That knowledge keeps her busy pushing bookmarks to her fellow students.