Jaiswal establishes American Cancer Society club at Westview

Jenna Ho-Sing-Loy, Sports Editor

Sneha Jaiswal (10) was introduced to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in 2016 when she was in sixth grade. She was on one of her close friend’s teams because at the time, she was too young to form her own.  But, two years later, when Jaiswal’s grandfather was diagnosed with cancer, and she was old enough, she became a team captain and has been going ever since.  

This year, she felt like she could do even more to stand up to cancer, and formed Westview’s own American Cancer Society (ACS) club with the help of Cara Tran (10) , Ananya Narayanan (10), and Pooneh Zehtabfard (10).  According to Jaiswal, there were many laws that they had to adhere to as a fundraising club, which made it hard for their team to get situated and approved by ASB and the ACS.  But, from the get go, their main goal was always to attend Relay for Life as a Westview team.    

The event was to take place in May, but until then Jaiswal had found other cancer events to bring the club to as they waited for the Relay for Life date, which included events like Construction vs. Cancer, Jan. 25.  

“Everyone there is always super welcoming,” Jaiswal said. “They all have a connection to cancer in some special way and everyone’s fight is different, whether they’re a caregiver, family member or the patient.”  

Once the pandemic hit the country and quickly all outdoor events were cancelled, their plans were abruptly put on hold. Jaiswal and the rest of the club were understandably disappointed.  

“It’s what we’ve been building towards,” Jaiswal said.  “It was our first year as a club and the members weren’t going to get the Relay for Life experience, but I understood that it was the best option to keep everyone safe and healthy.”  

Despite this setback, the club became more determined to continue to support the ACS any way they could, so they decided to keep their fundraising page open.  

“In the midst of this global pandemic, it’s been really easy to forget that other illnesses are still out there,” club secretary Narayanan said.  “So, it’s great to donate to those dealing with coronavirus, but it’s also necessary to help donate to find a cure for cancer.” 

Jaiswal met with the ACS leadership team to brainstorm ideas for fundraising after AP testing is over.  They decided to push the event back to August 2020, and that it would continue to be virtual.  Jaiswal also met with the Westview club to discuss their next steps for when the pandemic is over and they can meet in person again.  

“Next year, we really want to expand our goal and the number of members in our club,” Jaiswal said.  “I hope we can raise enough money next year to make up for this year’s unfortunate events.” 

While they haven’t reached their goals yet, they haven’t given up and keep fighting to make a difference.  

“Cancer never stops,” Jaiswal said. “And so, our fight against cancer can never stop. As a club we want to still do our part this year and fundraise.”