Members of Emily’s Hope team who are participating in the Mineral County Relay for Life scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on July 17 at the South End Sports Complex in Keyser are, from the left, Allison Leighty, Madison Leighty, Emily Fradiska and Emily Thomas, team captain.

Cumberland Times-News

CRESAPTOWN — “I think that all kids should be on a Relay for Life team because it would show people that kids care,” said 8-year-old Emily Thomas of Cresaptown.

“We want people to know that kids can make a difference, too,” Thomas said when asked why she formed the Emily’s Hope team that will participate in the upcoming Mineral County Relay for Life.

The team is comprised of Thomas and three of her friends from Cresaptown Elementary School. Thomas’ team name coincides with both the national Relay theme and the Mineral County theme.

The 2009 national theme is Hope and Hope Grows is the theme for this year’s Mineral County event. Thomas registered her team in January and the group has been engaged in fund-raising activities ever since. In addition to Thomas, other members of the team include Emily Fradiska and Allison and Madison Leighty.

The young Thomas is no stranger to Relay for Life, the signature fund-raising event for the American Cancer Society, since her mother, Jen is the ACS’s Community Partner for a five-county area in West Virginia that includes Mineral County.

According to her mother, Emily’s father, Rob, was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma in 2003 and several of his family members have been lost to cancer. “Although her father is now well and cancer-free, this experience has heightened Emily’s concern about cancer for her dad and for herself,” said her mother.

Although the Leighty sisters have not lost a loved one to cancer and no one in their family has this diagnosis, they both want to be involved in Relay as a way of helping others. Fradiska, who lost her great grandmother to cancer, chose to become a member of the team for the same reason.

To date the foursome has raised approximately $200 for the Mineral County event. Their fund-raising efforts have included selling cancer bracelets and simply asking their relatives and friends to make monetary contributions to their team.

Thomas is currently organizing a “kids” yard sale for sometime in June. The sale will feature items of particular interest to kids, such as toys, DVD’s, CD’s and books, as well as lemonade and baked goods. Thomas is also selling Relay T shirts. A science fair project completed by Thomas sparked the idea of making individual soaps to sell. This will likely be a summer project for the team.

The young volunteers are eagerly looking forward to the Mineral County Relay for Life event slated for Friday and Saturday, July 17-18 at the South End Sports Complex in Keyser. They plan to have a camp site and they definitely plan to spend the night.

Since all the girls are animal lovers, the theme for their site will be Pets Care About Cancer, Too. The focal point of the site will be a dog house with various stuffed animals. Thomas said, “When people die from cancer, pets lose their owners. Pets can get cancer, too,” she added.

They will be selling homemade brownies, fudge, cookies, sweet tea and lemonade at their camp site. In addition to food, the girls will also have animal tattoos and games for children. “We hope everybody will come to our camp site and buy something to eat and say hi,” Thomas said with a smile.

For additional information regarding the Mineral County Relay for Life, call (304) 788-6634.

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