They arrived in bright pink shirts, pink tutus, pink bow ties, pink face paint, pink socks, and pink fairy wings. Ten students, seven boys and three girls, from Santa Clara High School’s FHA-HERO (Future Homemakers of America- Home Economics Related Occupations) student organization gathered in San Jose on Oct. 31 to participate in American Cancer Society’s “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walk. In spite of being held the morning after their school’s homecoming, members of Hopp’s HEROs were pumped for the 5K walk.
“I had breast cancer 15 years ago in 2001 and I am a survivor,” says Kathy Hopp, culinary teacher and FHA-HERO advisor at Santa Clara High School. “Our historian at FHA-HERO is Boonevie Valentino and she does the scrapbooks for our chapter. She had seen some breast cancer materials in our scrapbooking box and she wanted to do a breast cancer page. She asked if we could a breast cancer walk, and all the kids chimed in saying they thought that would be a great thing to do. None of the kids knew I was a survivor then, and so I told them. They were quiet and surprised.”
This FHA-HERO chapter raised over $1,200 to support breast cancer awareness, research, prevention and education. Twenty students helped with general fundraising and collected $250 simply from leaving coin boxes in the school’s classrooms. In addition, Bill Cheney, a teacher at Santa Clara High School, donated to Hopp’s HEROs team members who didn’t receive donations.
For Valentino and FHA-HERO chapter president Jennifer Ho, “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walk was their first walk.
“This year, when we were planning community service, we thought we could do a walk since it was Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” says Valentino.
“We walked at a normal pace,” Ho says. “I got up at 5:30 or 6 a.m. that morning to do the walk. I woke up early so I could get my costume together. I got to the Arena Green across from the SAP Center at 7 a.m.”
“I don’t know if it’s because I’m a survivor, but people who are diagnosed with breast cancer tend to share that with me,” says Hopp, who has done 10 walks of varying distances. “Or maybe it’s just an interesting circumstance in my life that I have known so many women who have had breast cancer.”