Richland girl, 17, raises funds for cancer research

RICHLAND —  Taija Rickords didn’t spend Saturday morning at a salon having her hair, nails and makeup done for prom that night.

Instead, the senior at Southridge High School in Kennewick donned a pink T-shirt and tennis shoes for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Howard Amon Park. The event raised money for the Tri-City chapter of the American Cancer Society.

Rickords led a team in memory of her mom, Lisa Rickords, who died last month after a battle with breast cancer.

“I knew the effects breast cancer could have on people. I wanted to make a difference,” Rickords said.

The 17-year-old also collected $4,800 to fight the disease by rounding up donations via phone and e-mail and organizing a hot dog feast and auction fundraiser.

Lisa Rickords died April 21 at age 50. The team her daughter put together for the walk was called Love for Lisa.

Rickords said Saturday that she was tired from the event and fundraiser, but also happy with the results.

She plans to attend Brigham Young University-Idaho next year. There is an annual breast cancer walk held nearby, and she hopes to participate.

But first, she will finish classes at Southridge High in a few weeks. On Saturday night, she planned to go to her school’s prom. She was going to have her hair done Saturday afternoon, after the walk.

She hopes others are inspired by her effort to honor her mom and fight breast cancer.

“It’s possible for anybody to be a leader. They’ve just got to get out there and make a few phones calls,” she said. “They just have to keep going. They can make a difference.”

-- Sara Schilling: 509-582-1402; sschilling@tricityherald.com