KSS students keep memory, fundraising alive

Our family is humbled that Connor was able to ignite a passion in the heart of KSS.

To the editor:

May 10, 2012 marked 10 years since we lost our teenage son to cancer. In 2002 it would have been Connor’s graduation from KSS, a school and environment he loved.

Eleven years ago, when Connor was first diagnosed, several of his friends approached Fane Triggs, the rec leadership teacher at Kelowna Secondary School wanting to do something to raise money and awareness for my son’s disease. They decided on a drive-thru breakfast.

There were humble beginnings in the KSS parking.  Our family attended and were moved to see his friends and peers so committed to the project.

Over the years Cancer Awareness Week at KSS has grown beyond anyone’s expectations and each year Connor is recognized as the impetus, a gesture that overwhelms us as most of today’s staff and students never knew him. Connor, the healthy, happy, all-round student represents the truth that no one is immune from this dreaded disease.

Our family has attended many of the assemblies that kick off the week and are always so impressed with the maturity, professionalism and sincerity of the program which changes every year. For example there are guest speakers, video presentations, personal stories, students singing original songs and during each assembly you could hear a pin drop.

The drive-thru breakfast, now held in the Rona parking lot, has grown into a highly efficient, well-attended event.  Pouring rain, blowing wind or sun shine, it doesn’t matter; every year the committee is there at 6 a.m. setting up for the 6:30 a.m. start and each student greets you with an abundance of cheer, enthusiasm and gratitude.

Then there is the head- shaving portion of the week where many brave students are motivated by the cause to have their locks shorn to raise money and awareness.

This gesture is truly not one that is usually credited to teens as image is quite a priority. To attend grad, all things summer or relocating to post-secondary opportunities—all done with little or no hair—this takes a brave person as does losing one’s hair to chemo.

The Grade 12 rec leadership classes, under the tutelage of Mr. Triggs, deserves praise and recognition for growing Cancer Awareness Week over 11 years to what it is today, but also the students and staff who stand behind this fundraiser every year deserve recognition as approximately $250,000. has been donated to the Cancer Agency of the Southern Interior through these efforts.

Our family is humbled that Connor was able to ignite a passion in the heart of KSS that continues to burn, bringing awareness and raising funds for a disease that knows no boundaries.

Of note: Assembly May 23; Drive-Thru Breakfast at the Rona parking lot off Springfield May 24; and Head Shaving May 25.

For information about these call 250-768-5191.

Deb Cochrane,

West Kelowna

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