February 1, 2013

Schools rally to support families

Submitted by Whitfield County Schools

— After learning one of her teachers had a child battling leukemia, New Hope Elementary Principal Brinda Clayton rallied her staff and students to help.

On Sept. 11, doctors diagnosed New Hope Elementary teacher Kristy Guice’s daughter Kandis, a graduate of Northwest Whitfield High School, with acute promyelocytic leukemia, often referred to as APL.

Clayton and Assistant Principal Carla Maret sought further assistance from their colleagues and students throughout the Whitfield County Schools system. With additional support from Modern Woodmen of America, they raised $12,000 for the Guice family to help them pay mounting medical costs, travel expenses, insurance deductibles and to replace lost wages.

Around that same time, a Valley Point Middle School student was also diagnosed with leukemia. The middle school had just begun selling T-shirts to nearby schools to raise money for that student. New Hope joined in this fundraiser, customizing a T-shirt design sold at schools in its part of the county.

The school district united to promote an “Orange Out Day” to support its families fighting childhood leukemia. T-shirt sales earned $5,200 for the Guice family.

New Hope Elementary students Ronnie and Georgina Paloblanco, Xitali and Camila Vasquez, and Kaley Chandler held their own fundraisers selling lemonade and hand-crafted items to add to the donation. P.E. teacher Stacy Pardee, parapro Sherri Dean and teacher Ashley Smith organized a Dodge Ball tournament at the school to raise another $2,500.

Clayton contacted Modern Woodmen of America, which matched those funds raised during the tournament to provide an additional $2,500. Staff, students and administrators reached their goal of $12,000.

After receiving the funds, the Guice family extended their sincere thanks to the staff, students and communities of New Hope Elementary and Whitfield County. Although the illness has been a struggle for Kandis, her mother Kristy and her sister Karli, they feel blessed by the love and kindness shown to them during this time.

Kandis continues to fight toward a full recovery.