Comstock Park: Teacher to be remembered
Thursday, July 26, 2007
By Matt Vande BunteThe Grand Rapids Press
PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP — Chris Pierson led her colleagues to Relay for Life events in Ada and Rockford on several occasions.
On Friday, when the American Cancer Society’s 24-hour walk-a-thon comes to Comstock Park for the first time, staff and supporters of Greenridge Elementary School will again rally around the former special education teacher.
Pierson died of leukemia in early 2006, but many said she will be there in spirit at the inaugural event, scheduled to step off at 3 p.m. on the track at Comstock Park High School, 150 Six Mile Road NE.
Of the many special activity laps planned hourly, a Kids Lap with balloons and signs in honor of Pierson is slated for 4 p.m. Friday.
“You can just show up, even walk around the track to show your support,” said Emily Garneau, a Greenridge office aide and co-captain of the school’s relay team. “I’m sure she’d be happy that (Relay for Life) has come to Comstock Park. We just want to make her proud.”
The relay will include about 16 teams that keep at least one member walking on the track until 3 p.m. Saturday. The public is invited to the fund-raiser, which will feature live music, volleyball and several activities planned by individual teams.
The Greenridge squad, for example, plans to set up a Hawaiian-themed tent where members will sell nail polishing and hair-braiding services.
Walkers are encouraged to take part in hourly themes including trick-or-treating, pajama party, jump roping and ball bouncing. A “Miss Relay” fundraiser at 8 p.m. Friday will crown the man dressed in drag who collects the most donations. At other times, people can pay $5 to change the song being played.
And at 9:30 p.m. Friday, a luminaria ceremony, featuring candles inside decorated bags, will honor cancer victims and survivors, as well as people still fighting the disease. Bags are available for $10 by calling Garneau at 647-4071.
Greenridge staff plan to remember Pierson by spelling out her name with one letter per bag.
“That is going to be very impressive to see,” said Pierson’s father, James Pierson, who will walk with his wife, Paula. “It really brings to light just how many people have died.
“We know that Chris would have been one of the organizers had she been here. (Relay) has been a very big part of our life, and especially my daughter’s.”
Chris Pierson died in February 2006 from complications with leukemia. She previously survived a bought with ovarian cancer and got active in Relay for Life, serving on an organizing committee for the Rockford relay.
Pierson’s former students and their parents are invited to be part of the Greenridge team.
“She absolutely adored those children,” James Pierson said. “They were her whole life.”
Bob the Gorilla Editorial Board notes: Barb’s Bunch, the famed relay team from Pepinoville, will be in attendance at the Comstock Park inaugural event, after a few years of participating in the Rockford Relay. Li’l Pepinita and cousins Salchicha, Bailarin, Fotografa, Linguista, and El Tigre, will be in attendance as well. Bompa Suave may dress and walk as a women (sic) if Pepina uses her communications degree effectively.
P. Suave y La Junta Directiva Gorila