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Ness students will stay awake... or else

One student raises $500 and counting for CancerCare

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Amy Jansen isn’t afraid to wield a pump-action water gun on her fellow Ness Middle School students, if they fall asleep.

"Yep. If you fall asleep. I’m not saying that’s going to happen, but, if you fall asleep...it’s a wake-a-thon, you’re supposed to stay awake."

The wake-a-thon Jansen refers to is the school’s annual fundraising event to raise money for CancerCare Manitoba, something the Grade 8 student has a passion and talent for.

She’s earned $500 in pledges, "and counting," her teacher and wake-a-thon organizer Geret Coates said, which puts her on track, yet again, to raise more money for CancerCare than any other wake-a-thon wannabe at Ness Middle School. In Grades 6 and 7 she earned the title by raising about $200 and $250, respectively.

Jansen attributes her success to knocking on doors – about 100 so far this year.

"I don’t see the point of asking your parents for $50 just to get into the wake-a-thon. That’s not really the spirit of fundraising for CancerCare."

Students have to raise $50 to join the April 26 wake-a-thon, which is a highly-anticipated evening of staying up all night while eating good food and having good times at the school.

Although cancer has not touched Jansen’s life directly, it did enter the life of one of her friends.

"Her aunt was diagnosed with cancer and unfortunately she passed away," Jansen said.

"She’s one of my best friends, so like, knowing that happened to her and she still hasn’t got over how she lost her Auntie…I think it makes her feel better that I’m doing it for her too."

This will be the sixth year Ness Middle School raised money for CancerCare with their wake-a-thon.

The school raised $20,000 in the first five years, Coates said, and last week – with three weeks of fundraising left – students are on track to bring in another $4,000 for the cause.

Coates said he likes that the money stays in Manitoba to support cancer patients

Although her door-to-door effort is time-consuming (she was even out during spring break) Jansen said it’s time well spent.

"It’s for a good cause and it makes me proud of myself and it makes my whole family... they tell that they’re really proud of me and I’m doing a good job, so it makes me feel good."

Coates and fellow teacher/organizer Leanne Stuart will be at the wake-a-thon, and equally in danger of getting soaked if their eyes droop before morning. The reward outweighs such risk for Coates, though.

"Working with kids like Amy who are fun kids, have a good sense of humour, but can still take life seriously and do their part to make the world a better place makes the job a cakewalk. It’s fantastic."

Anyone interested in contributing to CancerCare and temporary sleep loss at Ness Middle School on April 26 can contact them at 204-837-1361. Or, Coates suggests, just drop by the school at 330 Ness Avenue.

"We love having visitors in, sure, come on down."

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