Caps for cancer


Andrea Martinez

Downey High School student, Rigoberto Chavez, 11, has been collecting bottle caps since mid September for his cousin who has cancer. “Every thirty caps gets her a free chemo session,” Chavez said.

Joey Flores, News Editor

From mid-September until now, junior Rigoberto Chavez has been collecting plastic bottle caps from students on campus to raise funds for his cousin’s chemotherapy treatment.


Chavez carries around a large bag where he stores the caps that people donate. Students in his classes began to take notice his bag had numerous caps. Once he told them what they were for, they wanted to help. Ada Hernandez, 11, student with a personal connection to the disease, offered her assistance.


“My mom had breast cancer, so when I told my mom about [collecting caps] she got really excited to help, because people helped her when she had cancer,” Ada Hernandez, 11, said,” and she felt that we should help as well.”


Hernandez then went on to say that she knew how sad it was to have a family member with cancer. The fact that she nearly lost her mother to cancer opened her eyes and motivated her to help other people going through the same grief. She’s taken action by asking students, teachers, and even her own family members to donate caps to provide help for Chavez’s cause. The more caps he receives are beneficial because according to the hospital, for every thirty caps, a chemotherapy treatment is given to Chavez’s cousin. Hernandez proves that help can come from anybody, no matter how big or small the favor is. She also proves that getting people involved can make a big difference.


“I was touched by how passionate Rigo was about helping his cousin, and I felt if he could take the time out of his day to help, then so could I,” Lauren Rodriguez, 11, said. “I told my friend who is the KIWIN’S junior rep to tell KIWIN’S [to donate].”


KIWIN’S is a community service club that has ninety members who all love to help out meaningful causes. KIWINS members helped by asking their friends and families to donate caps as well. The club, in addition to collecting the caps, is spreading word of Chavez’s cause to other people so that they can ask their friends to donate, resulting in a ripple of donations. These results contribute to Chavez’s altruistic actions.


“I don’t want to make it sound like I’m the hero,” Chavez said. “That’s my moral. I’m doing this because I want to be recognized as doing this selflessly, not to look like I’m saving the day.”


One of the main reasons why Chavez is doing this is because finances are a problem for his cousin’s mother. Treatment is expensive and requires as much financial help possible. He got the idea of collecting bottle caps from his aunt because she had been collecting them from her co-workers. Word spread to Chavez when his aunt asked his family to try and donate as many caps as possible. He will be going through the process of sending these caps to Las Vegas, where his aunt lives and processes them. The process may take awhile because Chavez has more than a hundred caps at home, in addition to all of the ones he carries in his bag. This vast amount of caps is going to make this process near grueling, but hopefully worth it in the end.


Although there is no guarantee the disease will be defeated, there will always be the guarantee of people willing to fight it. Fighting the disease will provide all those involved with not only a strong piece of mind, but also the hope for victory. Chavez’s motivation to help his cousin will inspire others to unite, donate, and battle cancer.