Bryan recognized for volunteer work

Published 2:47 am Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Sophomore Julie-Layton Bryan’s willingness to help others led to her selection for the Straughn High School Character in Action Award for the month of October.

Bryan was the first individual Cancer Freeze recipient in 2009.

She was diagnosed with retinoblastoma in her left eye and underwent intra-arterial chemo under the care of New York City doctors beginning in November of 2008. The chemo worked, but in 2013, she started experiencing headaches. Her mom, Stephanie Bryan, knew in her gut something was wrong. By the end of the month, tests confirmed the family’s fear: two new tumors in her eye. By early February, the spunky then-9-year-old had had an enucleation.

Each year she returns to the annual Cancer Freeze event in February,  helping to raise funds for others.  She was also the first cancer survivor to win the Miss Cancer Freeze pageant this past year.

Recently, Bryan helped set up raffle items and prepare bingo cards for the Cancer Freeze/Paxton High School Class of 1991 fundraiser for the family of Clay Allen.

“I really enjoy helping out with Cancer Freeze,” Bryan said. “I try to help all that I can because they have helped me so much. I usually help with all of their events like the raffle tickets and the car show during the event in February.”

Along with Cancer Freeze, Bryan is also very involved at SHS with extracurricular activities. She is involved in Anchor Club, Spanish Club, Serve Club and is a majorette in the band.

After high school, she plans to become a child life specialist counselor.

“During my life with cancer, I had a child life specialist,” Bryan said. “They really impacted my life and I want to be able to make a difference in another child’s life.”

Bryan is looking at going to either the University of Alabama in Birmingham, Troy University or the University of South Alabama to further her education after high school.

Bryan still hopes to make a difference in her community while in high school.

“I hope to continue to serve my community and school,” Bryan said. “It is really an honor to receive this award and I am happy to be a part of it.”

The Covington County Children’s Policy Council sponsors the Character in Action Award, which is awarded on a monthly basis to a student at SHS who displays exceptional character. The winner of the monthly award receives $50.