Two families in one school district are fighting the same battle against cancer. A kindergartner and a second grader in the Elmira City School District are both suffering from rare forms of cancer. Our Katie Husband tells us how the children's siblings and school community are coming together to help their classmates and families cope.
ELMIRA, N.Y. -- Living by the golden rule is what these Beecher Elementary students are doing in their role as Wish Committee members.
"I thought it would be awesome raising money. I like to help out a lot,” said Isaiah Roe, Beecher Elementary student.
"All my life I’ve cared about, like how people feel,” said Caleb Green, Wish Committee president.
Beecher Elementary is teaming up with Fassett Elementary to help out students Tristin Malone and Jacob Davila who both go to Fassett.
Malone is fighting a rare cancer that begins in the muscles and can occur in many places in the body, specifically the head, neck, arms and legs. Davila is fighting a rare form of kidney cancer called Wilms Tumor.
"One of the worst things a mother could ever go through, you know? Having doctors tell you what they found with your child and there’s nothing you can do about it,” said Nina Malone, Tristin's mother.
"It’s a struggle, we take it day by day. And we just don’t let him know how his health conditions, we want him to not worry about what’s going on with him,” said Stephanie Davila, Jacob's mother.
Tristin is undergoing chemotherapy treatments at Geisinger Medical Center in Pennsylvania and Jacob will start radiation treatments after the first of the year at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.
“I know that Tristen has been doing very good, he’s going to be able to come home and stay for a while after New Year’s. And he’s been receiving radiation and chemo so he’s going to be fine,” said Devin Hoskins, Tristin's brother.
Rather than focusing on the illness, Tristin's siblings are using the fundraiser to stay positive.
“Yeah, this is my way to help out my brother because I’ve felt helpless and I wanted him to get better,” said Hailey Hoskins, Tristin's sisters.
And they never thought they would see both Beecher and Fassett schools come together to try and reach a $10,000 goal for the families.
"I’m glad to hear that everyone else is helping and knowing that someone else is going to be there for us,” said Devin Hoskins.
"It’s breathtaking. It means a lot, you know, that there are a lot of people that care and have reached out for us to help us in any way that they can,” said Nina Malone.
“Beecher and Fassett are teaming up. The boys are in a fight so I figured we all could join the big fight and try to fight cancer with the boys,” said Davila.
Seeing the Wish Committee at Beecher and this group at Fassett plan fundraising events to try and reach the goal by May 1st is a rewarding experience.
"I think we’re seeing the best that kids have to offer throughout this whole experience. And, it’s been a really tough school year and this has given everyone something to surround themselves around and band together to help the families,” said Mike Lanning, Beecher Elementary Principal.
"It's an inspiration for me, it's an inspiration for everyone to see these students care so much and that they're willing to do whatever it takes to help," said Mary Cox, Fassett Elementary Principal.
Despite being in the same school the boys have never met. However, their mothers hope to come together in the future.
Right now, the schools have raised just over $3,000 which will be shared between both families.
Make checks payable to Beecher PFO
In the memo section write, Wish Committee
Mail to: 310 Sullivan Street, Elmira, NY 14901
Make checks payable to Fassett PFO
In the memo section write, regarding Tristin and Jacob
Mail to: 319 Thurston Street, Elmira, NY 14901