As one of its own teachers undergoes treatment for cancer, Aspen Creek Elementary School in Gretna has been quick to rally around him.
Fifth-grader Paolo Perez organized a hot cocoa fundraiser and bake sale for fourth-grade teacher Jon Brown, held March 9 and 10.
Enlisting the help of a few classmates to run the booth, Perez collected more than $1,000 for the teacher.
“My dad had cancer and everyone helped me and my family when he had to go through treatment,” Perez said. “I just wanted to give back and return the favor.”
A number of families in the school community donated baked goods, and Gretna’s McKinney’s Food Center provided them with a table and front-and-center location to set up at the store. Kingdom Insurance also donated to help the booth become a success.
“I am so blessed to be loved by so many people,” Brown wrote in an email. “A huge thanks to these three young men and their families for all the time and effort they put in this weekend, and a huge thank you to all of you that stopped out for some goodies and hot chocolate. I continue to be in awe of all the love and support that my family has been shown by the Gretna community.”
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Oliver Henderson plays first base waiting for some action. Without a left hand Henderson is able to adapt to the world of baseball.
Libby DiBiase runs in a 14-pound vest during a workout at CrossFit Kinesis in Gretna. This Omaha police officer uses CrossFit to keep in shape for her unpredictable job.
Jeff Strufing enjoys being able to help people during group classes at Kosama. Despite his cancer diagnosis, Strufing hasn’t let it change his lifestyle. The 46-year-old business owner, husband and father of two still works part-time as a paramedic and teaches weekly classes at three gyms. He’s done it all while undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
Margie Irfan practices bicep curls during her workout at Life Time Fitness. Iftan entered the world of bodybuilding when she was 46 years old. The Omaha woman has lost 10 percent of her body fat while maintaining the same weight — and she’s got the toned muscles to prove it.
Jack Mallett practices his tennis skills at Miracle Hill tennis courts. After deciding to quit drinking Mallett, 92, made tennis his addiction.
Michelle Graft runs on the Wabash Trace in Council Bluffs to train for her portion of the MS Run the US relay. Gaft who has MS uses running to keep the symptoms at bay.
Mary Manhart works out at the Downtown YMCA four times a week. She sees the people at the gym as her extended family.
Hadeel Haider started to exercise after being treated for Hodgkin's lymphoma, and she fell in love with Zumba. Haider now teaches Zumba class at the the Maple Street YMCA.
Nancy Nygren works out at least three times a week to help keep off more than 65 pounds that she lost a decade ago. “She’s the perfect example of somebody who has lost a significant amount of weight and has done it the right way,” said Jennifer Yee, who leads Nygren’s boot camp class and is also an instructor in Creighton University’s exercise science program.
Tom Carney does a workout during kickboxing class. Carney used to work out so he could eat whatever he wanted. Now he understands diet is just as important as exercise.
Rik Zortman runs the name of children who have died of cancer. He has ran the name of more than 250 children since his son's death in 2009.
Katie Chipman, a 12-year-old gymnast with juvenile arthritis, practices at Airborne Academy. Chipman works to hard to compete and only misses practices if her symptoms are too severe.
Joe Reisdorff and Dan Masters grew up in the same town, attending the same church were never close until Reisdorff needed a new kidney and Masters was a match.