A fifth-grade research project led to a life-changing diagnosis for the parent of one of the students.
Before they can graduate and move on to middle school, International Baccalaureate students at Ridgewood Elementary School in Beaverton have to come up with a plan to help their community.
Students Stella, Huck, Nick and Abby decided to study skin cancer. As part of their research, the kids wanted to go to an expert, so they chose to interview a dermatologist. Abby's mom Becky Rohrer made an appointment for the students, as well as one for herself.
At her appointment, Becky says the dermatologist spotted basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, right on her forehead. The students said the discovery really changed the nature of the project for them.
"We realized that if we didn't pick the topic of skin cancer, maybe Abby's mom wouldn't have gone in to get checked," said Stella Sootemaker.
The cancer scare made the kids even more passionate about teaching their peers about cancer prevention. They made up a rap about sunscreen and performed it at school, classroom by classroom.
"I think the kids finally realized that, wow, we really did make a difference, not just in our school, but that this was something more life and death" said Julie Curtis, the group's teacher.
Abby's mom says she's doing just fine. Doctors removed the carcinoma and she says it's healing well.
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