Memorial Park Elementary raises money to fight childhood cancer

By NICOLE SMITH, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 9/25/16

Memorial Park Elementary School held a series of fun, yet thought provoking, dress up days at school this past week to raise money in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

The school’s student council organized the fundraiser that …

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Memorial Park Elementary raises money to fight childhood cancer

Posted

Memorial Park Elementary School held a series of fun, yet thought provoking, dress up days at school this past week to raise money in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

The school’s student council organized the fundraiser that encouraged students to pay $1 per day to dress up according to various themes, with all proceeds to be donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

On Monday, students wore pajamas for the “dreaming of a cure” theme; Tuesday’s “surviving into the future” theme prompted students to dress up according to what they want to be when they grow up; Wednesday was rock star day, celebrating the affirmation “survivors rock”; Thursday honored “superheroes of hope,” with kids dressing as their favorite superhero; and Friday’s theme was “go gold for childhood cancer awareness,” which encouraged students to be creative with a gold themed outfit.

Katie Adams, a student at Memorial Park who was diagnosed with kidney cancer last year, just returned to school at the beginning of the current school year after having months of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. She is now in complete remission, enjoying swimming again and is part of the student council.

When the idea to raise money for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month was presented, the school didn’t hesitate to raise money for a cause that hit close to home — one the student body had learned more about through Katie’s journey.

“Her battle with it, her winning it and being back here this year inspired the fundraiser,” Principal Eric Rigsby said. “We thought we would do something to make our kids and make our parents aware of childhood cancer. ... It’s impacted every one of us here.”

Katie has been open during her journey and even made special arrangements on the first day of school for counselors from Children’s Hospital in Birmingham to come and talk to her 3rd grade peers about childhood cancer.

“She’s done a really good job of not hiding it but explaining to the students and making them aware,” Rigsby said.

Thursday was superhero day, and many of Katie’s classmates proclaimed that she was their hero. They also created masks out of paper plates, with Katie’s picture affixed, to honor her bravery.

“One of the students had a Superman shirt, but instead of the S logo they had a K in the middle of it, and said Katie was their superhero,” Rigsby said.

Katie’s mom, Carol Adams, said Katie has been blossoming during recovery, and she’s happy the student body raised money to help other kids battling cancer.

“She is doing great and happy to be back at school,” Adams said.

Rigsby said childhood cancer is a tough subject to discuss with young children, but the school has found special ways to make students aware and understanding.

“Our kids have one day a week where they get to go and meet with our counselor and go through a class, and she’s [Ms. Wood] very good about putting it on their level. Our teachers have talked with the kids, and all of our kids are aware of who Katie is. ... They’re very aware of her situation, and I think knowing her situation has made our kids a lot more aware of what’s going on,” he said.

In the first two dress up days, the school raised over $1,100 for St. Jude, and raised a total of $2,400 during the five-day total. The funds will be donated in Katie’s honor.