From left, Katie Naretto, Faith Van Dyk and Reese Termond are fundraising for the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, which benefits families with children battling the disease. (Contributed photo)

Three Santa Barbara-area high school students are raising money to support families who have a child battling cancer.

“We know some young children that are fighting cancer right now, and we’ve seen first hand how drastic cancer can change lives,” said ReeseTermond, a San Marcos High School student.

Reese, Katie Naretto and Faith Van Dyk said that for every dollar raised, they will walk a step at Shoreline Park’s Torii Gate steps, which lead down to the beach.

“I’ve grown up with a healthy childhood, which I’ve always taken for granted,” said Katie, a Dos Pueblos High School student. “After meeting kids and creating relationships with children who have cancer, I knew I wanted to help in any way that I could.

“Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation is such a great organization, and I’m so glad that my friends and I could help contribute to these brave families.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, they had raised $1,084, and the deadline for the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation fundraiser is Saturday. 

September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness month, and the girls were inspired to launch the fundraiser by one of their friends, a 4-year-old named Charlie, who is fighting leukemia.

The teens, along with their younger siblings, Shane Van Dyk and Sarah Naretto, also participated in this year’s Keiki paddle at East Beach to support a child named Eliana, who has a brain tumor.

The Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation supports families when their children are diagnosed with cancer.

The organization offers supportive programs, including financial assistance, and educational and emotional support so parents feel comforted while their child is battling cancer.

Families are eligible to receive up to $5,000 to help pay for expenses including rent, gas, child care, groceries, hotel accommodation, and utilities.

“We just want to make a difference in our community, and getting involved with the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation seemed like a good place to start,” said Faith, who attends Dos Pueblos High School.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.