By Mya Tauber
Ariana Ishkanian, a senior mentor and this year’s President of the Youth Against Cancer (YAC) Club, is taking the initiative to raise money and spread awareness about one of the most well-known and devastating diseases: cancer. According to the World Health Organization, cancer is the second most common cause of death in the U.S, and it accounts for an estimated 9.6 million deaths worldwide. As a result, those 9.6 million people, along with millions of more survivors/family members, have to go through horrendous suffering. In order to help fight this vicious disease, leaders like Ariana Ishakanian are taking action.
Youth Against Cancer’s goal is to spread awareness in the school and community about cancer, raise money for cancer research, and help patients who are battling cancer. During the year, the club raises money for the American Cancer Society, the NWHC Cancer and Wellness Center, the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation, and Lee National Denim Day. To accomplish this, there are four main events that the Youth Against Cancer Club hosts. The first event that took place was the Making Strides Against Cancer Westchester Walk, a 4.5 mile walk around Manhattanville College with over 1,000 attendees. The Byram Hills team raised almost $7,000 and important awareness among the BHHS community for the cause. Another annual event is the massive bake sale at HCC Crittenden Middle School each December, along with various bake sales at the high school that occur consistently throughout the year. Next, there is a YAC car wash that takes place each year as well. Additionally, the fourth and most influential event is a symposium that brings keynote speakers from different cancer organizations to BHHS. Attendees include employees at the Memorial Sloan Kettering treatment center and Gilda’s Club– a club where students interact with patients with cancer and their families. When asked about this symposium, Ariana named it one of YAC’s biggest achievements. She commented that “one of the biggest achievements of the YAC club was the first ever symposium that we all organized last year. There were a lot of really informative and inspiring speakers who came and it helped to get the community involved with our club and what the club stands for.”
This year, Ariana and the rest of the YAC team are trying to organize a new event with Gilda’s Club, where students can volunteer and interact with other patients that are suffering with cancer. It’s truly amazing to see our Byram Hills community come together as one to help fight cancer. All of these events make a difference, and bring pride to their members. When asked about her position in the club, Ariana said, “being a member and the president of YAC is such an honor, it’s a really special club and it’s amazing to know that your part of something that’s helping to make a difference in other people’s lives.”