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Ralston Valley High School Student Wins Video Challenge Award

Ralston Valley High School Student Wins Video Challenge Award
Posted on 08/13/2018
Ayla CharnessAyla Charness knows first-hand the importance of "catching it in time" before a medical issue becomes more difficult to treat. Ayla, a senior-to-be at Ralston Valley High School in Arvada, decided to enter a state-wide video competition for cancer awareness offered by Catch it in Time to reach out to others. Catch it in Time is an Aurora-based nonprofit that focuses on the importance of cancer awareness and early detection and developed the challenge to have high school and college students reach out to their peers.

Charness has been a "regular" at The Children’s Hospital in Denver from an early age when it was discovered that she has Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), a blood disorder as well as an immune deficiency. She has been a Children’s Ambassador at the hospital and on the Children’s Miracle Network. She still takes frequent treatments at Children’s Hospital.

“If my parents didn’t notice it and the doctors didn’t catch it when they did, the ITP would have been much worse,” said Charness. “I could have bled to death. Even though ITP isn’t cancer, when I saw the video challenge, I knew that I had to spread the word about catching a diagnosis of cancer early. They are both abnormal health issues. And, I could put my passions to work making a video.”

Charness won the Executive Director award ‘for excellence in raising awareness about cancer and the importance of early detection.’ She wrote, produced, directed and narrated the story of her mother’s best friend and college roommate who caught her breast cancer at age 24, was aggressively treated and has been cancer free for nearly three decades.

“I really wanted to help people fully understand the importance of early detection of health issues and regular doctor visits,” added Charness. “I got the word about winning the award when I was at one of my regular hospital treatments. It was so exciting because this was something that I worked really hard on and was very important to me.”

Charness wants to work in the media industry, hopefully as a film editor.

“This just tells me that I can do this and maybe as a full-time profession.”

“At Catch it in Time, we strive to shine a light on the topics of screening and early detection. Getting young adults involved will help inform a younger generation and help us find new and creative ways to get the message out,” said Keith Singer, Executive Director of Catch it in Time. Singer believes she has a bright future in the industry ahead of her and wants to help her explore all phases of film and video.

“I was impressed with her video entry certainly, but more so by her background, her drive, her enthusiasm, and her talents,” said Singer.

Charness received a plaque and cash award and plans to use the money towards the purchase of a new video camera. She also plans on continuing to help others learn the importance of early detection of health issues so they can catch them in time.

The winning video can be seen at catchitintime.org.
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