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SLHS 'Love Week' raises nearly $5,000

SAN LUIS, AZ - A San Luis resident in need will receive almost $5,000 following San Luis High School’s annual “Love Week” events.

More than $1,000 was raised at “Love Night” held Feb. 16, 2018 and when combined with other Love Week activities, SLHS Student Council raised almost $5,000 for donation to this year’s Love Night recipient.

Love Week and Love Night have been hosted by SLHS for 11 years in an effort to raise money for someone in need within the community. The project is the only one of its kind in Yuma County. Shirts are sold, events are planned and, most importantly, a party dedicated to the Love recipient is organized; all of which raise money for the recipient.The Love Night recipient visits with a student. (Photo by Luis Delgado, SLHS)

Student Council at SLHS requests Love Week nominations from anyone in the school and the San Luis community. Candidates must be people who may be in need of financial help and stability. After the nomination period is over, members of Student Council vote on the candidate in most need to receive the funds raised through events and activities.

“Every year there’s always several candidates nominated and it is always difficult to decide who to choose because they all have their own unique story and it's heartbreaking to choose one over the other, but in the end we are giving at least one person hope to keep on going and to get better,” Vanessa Aguilar, SLHS junior and committee member, said.

Despite, the difficult decision to choose who would be the 2018 love recipient, Rosario Arce was a clear choice in the voting.

In 2010 Arce was diagnosed with breast cancer. The cause was determined to most likely be having been exposed to pesticides, heat and harmful sun rays from working in the fields all her life. She began chemotherapy as soon as she was diagnosed with the illness, and continuously went through the series of treatments for three years until she was cancer free.

In 2014, however, Arce learned her battle was not over. Doctors identified a different type of cancer during one of her routine checkups. This time, it was bone cancer and the struggle would never end. She will live the rest of her life battling and living with this cancer. Around the time of her second diagnosis Arce’s husband, Domingo Arce, suffered congestive heart failure. The cause was also determined to most likely be a result of the harmful rays of the sun and pesticides he was exposed to while working in the fields.

These medical needs drastically changed the couple’s lives as medical bills, doctor visits, house bills and food costs stacked up. Daily life became more difficult as they were unable to work and do many of the things which they loved to do. Despite their unfortunate circumstances, the couple has managed to keep pushing through with the help of their children, siblings and grandchildren.

“What makes me get up every single day is to thank my Lord that he is always with me and my grandchildren,” Arce said.

SLHS Student Council began fundraising efforts by first selling Love Week shirts to everyone within the San Luis community, as well as surrounding cities Somerton, Yuma and San Luis Rio Colorado. These white and pink love-themed shirts were sold for two weeks in the beginning of January. The total sales of approximately 600 shirts sold raised about $3,000.

The next fund raiser was directly for the student body. During Love Week, the week of Valentine’s Day, a love-themed spirit week was planned. For $1, students could purchase wrist bands that allowed them to deviate from the standard SLHS dress code, and participate in the Love Week dress days. These efforts not only raised more money for Arce, but promoted the Love Night event and created anticipation of the party that was to come.

The final event was Love Night. On Feb. 16, with the help of other clubs and organizations at SLHS, Student Council hosted a party for Rosario Arce and her family at San Luis High. Participating clubs willingly donated supplies, and set up activities and food to sell during the event. By the end of the night, an additional $1,000 was raised. 

After all these efforts, SLHS Student Council raised approximately $5,000 to assist the Arce family with their extensive medical bills.

When presented with this money, Rosario Arce seemed extremely grateful and even offered to help out for next year’s event. Arce said, “We are both ill (but) we are getting better little by little. This help is great for us. Thank you!”

The recipient and her family.

Gibran Murrieta, SLHS