When the weekend rolls around, several Scarborough High School girls will be taking a stand against cancer through song and dance.

The seven students are putting on a “Stand up to Cancer” show on March 14 in the high school auditorium. What they hope will become an annual show will showcase their own talents while raising money to fight cancer.

“We have worked really hard on this show and we hope people will come out to support it,” said freshman Mariah Volk. “Cancer strikes so many people in this country and we felt this was a way to raise money and awareness against the disease.”

Involved in the project are Volk, Lizz Starbird, Sasha Kennedy, Teal Dibiase, Natalie Pauwels, Kayla Cobb and Zoe Rice.

They have worked since September to perfect their routines, which include a stomp dance, interpretive dance and the song “Just Stand Up,” which several pop celebrities, including Beyonce Knowles, Sheryl Crow, Carrie Underwood and Mariah Carey, have performed together in national fundraising campaigns.

The show will also include speeches and stories about and by people who have either fought cancer or know somebody who has.

“We’re hoping the show is entertaining,” said Pauwels, who is a junior at the school. “More importantly, we hope that people understand we are doing this for a good cause.”

There isn’t a set admission fee, but donations between $5 and $10 are welcome. The girls do not have an official fundraising goal, but would like to raise about $2,500, Dibiase said.

“That would be amazing if we could raise that,” Dibiase said.

The proceeds will go to the national group “Stand Up to Cancer,” which describes itself as a charitable program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation established by the media to teach people that everyone is connected by cancer.

That is true, said Joyce Wheeler, a librarian at the high school who volunteered to be the faculty adviser on the project.

Two years ago, doctors diagnosed Wheeler’s son with malignant melanoma. He has since beat the disease, but Wheeler decided to get involved with the event to promote awareness.

“I think it’s been pretty amazing to have seven girls who have worked so hard on a show like this,” Wheeler said. “My son tanned and didn’t wear sunscreen, so when I see girls going into the tanning booth I like to tell them about his story.”

Cancer has also profoundly affected Pauwel’s family. One of her aunts recently had surgery for breast cancer and one of her grandmothers recently died from the disease, Pauwels said.

“I think everybody knows someone who has been affected with this disease,” she said.

Dibiase, a junior, was the project’s visionary. She said she was motivated by her grandmother’s battle with the disease, which eventually took her life, and how it challenged her family.

“I know how it affected me,” she said. “It definitely affected my mom. When I was in seventh grade, one of my teachers said she was sick with ovarian cancer. She took some time off, but she never came back because she actually did pass away. It was very rough and I will always remember that.”

The girls say they have been working hard since September. They began practicing for about an hour a day, three days a week, but have upped that to four hours a day, five days a week after school for the past three weeks.

“It has been a lot of hard work,” Volk said. “I didn’t think it would be this hard, but it is worth it.”

The project has spawned some unexpected rewards. Before embarking on the event, the girls knew each other, but they weren’t close. That has changed, Pauwel said.

“Yeah, I knew who they were, but I never really spoke to them,” she said. “Teal, for example, we didn’t even like each other and now we are great friends.”

The show starts at 7 p.m. Saturday and the girls expect the performance to last until 8:30 p.m.

They don’t know what to expect, but they do know they will have a good time, Pauwels said.

“We’re going to try our hardest,” she said. “We just really hope people enjoy it.”


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