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Why Team IB chose to participate in Sanibel’s Relay For Life

By Staff | Feb 12, 2009

We feel no expectation. There is no parent pushing us. We help because this is who we are. When the moment comes and others feel helpless, wishing they could have done something. We won’t feel that way.

Every week, we meet and create from words and pictures a little bit more of the event that is going to make a difference: Sanibel’s Relay For Life. We all have our own stories, our own reasons for putting our effort into something where we seek no benefit, no payoff. Some come from fresh wounds, others are old scars, but none is forgotten.

My friend Piper and I are the youngest ones there, two 16-year-olds in a room with some of the most successful and influential people on Sanibel. We are Team IB. IB stands for International Baccalaureate, a rigorous academic program that spans the globe (132 countries). There are about 160,000 International Baccalaureate students in the world today. This is who we are representing.

We had been dancing around the idea of creating team IB, when something happened that made us drive harder than ever before. Mrs. Sparks, one of the main gears that keep our school running and one of the sweetest women I’ve ever met, was absent from school. It wasn’t until later that week that we found out she had cancer, and it had taken a turn for the worse. She could no longer come to school because the strong chemotherapy sessions she was undergoing would render her immune system nearly useless against the spreading colds and flu. A single cold to her now could be deadly.

I worked with her in the front office every other day. I was used to seeing her smile or hearing a friendly good morning as I passed by her office. Now her office is oddly dark and empty, not the room that I always remember feeling bright, and where I always left with a belly full of candy and a feeling that “This isn’t gonna be so bad after all.”

So now here we sit, Piper and I, with our story and our determination – our determination that even though we don’t have a great deal of influence, and even though we don’t have any money, we can still do something. We can still inch our way closer to seeing Mrs. Sparks in her office again, wishing me a good morning or helping other students bear their burdens a little easier, where everybody loves her. Where she belongs.