CHS students tackle cancer

‘Chemo Girl and Other Plays’ will be performed Friday

If you go

The performance of "Chemo Girl and Other Plays, will take place Friday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Camas High School auditorium, 26900 S.E. 15th St. Doors open at 6:30. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door or in advance of the performance at wwww.events.lls.org/pages/oswim/camashightheater.

To register, donate and learn more about the Light the Night Walk, visit www.pages.lightthenight.org/oswim/PortlndL16, call 503-245-9866, or visit the group's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ltnpdx/?ref=hl.

When a young person is diagnosed with cancer, how do they maintain the courage to face it?

The Advanced Drama class at Camas High School will address the many impacts of the disease Friday night with the production, “Chemo Girl and Other Plays.”

“It is written from the point of view of young people whose lives have been affected by cancer, whether they are in treatment, or a member of their family is being treated,” said Sean Kelly, drama director. “It primarily deals with the isolation and anxiety that those who have the disease often feel, as well as the effects of the treatment, and how side effects can often be worse than the symptoms of the cancer itself.”

He is co-directing the play with senior Sophia Shafiuzzman. She asked her teacher if they could put something together to help her mom fundraise for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk on Saturday.

“It’s been an amazing experience because we all really have to dig deep and think about all of the emotions involved with this,” Shafiuzzman said. “It is very different than any play we have done here.”

Compass Oncology has partnered with the drama department to produce the play.

All proceeds go directly to the Light the Night Walk.

As part of the partnership, cancer survivors have come to the high school to talk to the young actors.

Kelly noted that hearing firsthand accounts of the disease has helped the play become more real for the student actors.

“This group is a very empathetic group of kids and they’re able to really embrace another person’s story,” he said.

The plays include: “Red Rover,” where the main character, Holly, was recently diagnosed with cancer, “The Waiting Room,” where several teenage cancer patients await their prognosis, and “The Other Room: where members of a family each confront the “otherness” of the sick room, and “Chemo Girl,” where main character Camille has dissociated from her condition and begins to fantasize about a video game where she fights for control.

“We are honored to be a part of this collaboration and to help bring this story to life,” said Stephanie Carlson, executive director of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. “It means so much that all of the proceeds from this performance will go to our Light the Night Walk, as well.

Every dollar raised goes directly to fund cancer research and provide support to patients diagnosed with blood cancers and their families. We appreciate the community’s support to raise awareness and hope to see a sold out show.”