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Madison Students Put on Skin Cancer Awareness Campaign to Honor Lost Teacher

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MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) – Hundreds of people were expected to walk around the gym at Bob Jones High School Friday night through Saturday morning for the Madison Relay for Life event.  It was moved indoors because of rain.

The event hit home for BJHS students who put on their own fundraiser and awareness campaign in memory of a special teacher who lost her battle with skin cancer in March.

Inside the school, bottles of sunscreen hung from the ceiling and signs were placed all over the walls.  Students put them up to make a point.

“I’ve been very proud of their enthusiasm about trying to inform the public how dangerous tanning beds are and how dangerous it can be just not wearing sunscreen,” said Brandy Panagos, media design teacher at BJHS.

She was also a friend of Miranda Barrier, an English teacher at BJHS and lost a battle with melanoma.

“She was cheerleading sponsor, she was a beautiful person,” said Panagos.  “We just don’t want people to forget about her and we know it was her dream to try to warn students about the danger of the sun and we’re just trying to carry that forward.”

BJHS students tied in their love for Mrs. Barrier to the Relay for Life event and put on a “spare change” fundraiser to bring in $2,000 to fight cancer.

More important, they worked for the last two weeks on a social media awareness campaign about skin cancer and how to avoid it, called “Shield Your Skin.”

“Everybody is affected by cancer at some point in time,” said Panagos.  “We just want to make sure that students are taking some initiatives and thinking about these kind of things, especially for preventable cancer like skin cancer.”

She added the students’ efforts are paying off in what she’s hearing from their classmates, who are now looking for any way to avoid cancer-causing rays–indoors or out.

As for the Relay for Life event, organizers expected 500 participants to help them hit their goal of raising $100,000 to fight cancer.