Finding a cure together


Amanda Lira

On Friday, March 1, senior, Mario Galvan shares his story about battling cancer during the March Madness fundraiser for Relay for Life. Galvan was Homecoming King and a member of the varsity football and varsity soccer teams.

Norma Flores, Sports Editor

4,000 plus students, divided into two assemblies, were rounded up in the gym during second period on March 1 to begin fundraising for Relay For Life. The event, on June 1-2, works toward trying to find a cure for cancer.


Last year Downey High School came together for a common purpose –to give back to the community. The Vikings raised approximately $40,000 for TLC, an organization which helps low income families in the community.


After going away from Pennies for Patients two years ago, the cause came back this year. Relay For Life, which is originally an event, run by Mr. Manzanares and the KIWIN’S club will become a Downey High School event.


“I began helping organize this event a few months after my father lost his own battle against cancer,” Manzanares said. “It was ironic because the person who contacted me about joining the event had no clue my father had died just a few months back from cancer.”


In order for the students to have an understanding of the cause they are helping Mario Galvan, 12, told his story.


Galvan was living the life of a normal teenager but in the month of November he began feeling odd sensations in his legs and fatigue and decided to go to the doctor for a check up. A lumber puncture was performed to extract fluid from the spinal cartilage and conduct tests that eventually confirmed that he had Stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma on December 26, 2012. The disease causes the immune system to attack itself, causing nerve and muscle damage that many times are irreversible.


“I felt like coming out and talking to my classmates today was something I had to do,” Galvan said, “I’ve tried to keep positive that I will beat this, and instead of feeling sorry for myself, I want to turn this situation into something positive.”


The fellow Viking explained his current situation as he blinked away tears.


“It can happen to anyone,” Galvan said. “Just a few months back I was part of the CIF winning football team, and now I’m at home almost everyday [and] undergoing chemotherapy. I felt like this was a kind of reality check to reevaluate my life.”


As Galvan finished his speech the audience broke into applause and chanted “Mario, Mario, Mario” as a sign of respect and appreciation for their classmate.


“I honestly don’t know Mario at a very personal level,” Andrew Rodriguez 12, said, “but I’ve seen him around and I’m not ashamed to say that I teared up while he was speaking. I seriously respect him for being able to handle this so well. ”


Galvan is currently undergoing chemotherapy, which will help get rid of the cancerous cells in his body. With the support of his friends and family he knows and is assertive that he will win the fight against cancer.


“Mario is one of my best friends, and it was a surprise when we found out that he had cancer,” Milo Lopez, 12 said. “ No matter what he knows that we are all here for him to fight together, but I know he’s going to be able to beat this.”


A classmate, a teammate, a brother,  a son, a Viking: it can be anyone. The hope is to help find the cure, the contest will be similar to March Madness in college basketball, beginning with the top 20 teacher the first week of fundraising. As the month progresses, the competition will be narrowed down to the top 10 teachers who currently are: Bradfield, Cubas, Gunderson, Guthrie, Hollington, Karzen, Kasner, Meade, Miranda, and Orca. From the top 10, the teacher who raises the most money by March 21 will win prizes ranging from a free sub day to a classroom party.


This fundraiser is an opportunity for teachers and students together to work as one and try to find the cure for cancer!