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Thomson Middle School raises money to help teacher's daughter

Sonya Strong was overwhelmed by what a mound of paper chains meant. The Thomson Middle School teacher knew that each link represented 25 cents that a student at her school had given to help fund the treatment for her daughter's rare form of cancer.

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Sky Powell gets a hand from her grandfather as she steps across the links of love.

Mrs. Strong, along with her daughter Sky Powell, a kindergartener, just returned from Boston, Mass., where Sky received a unique radiation treatment for the tumor on the base of her brain.

TMS staff member Christie Cook knew that the school had to do something to help with the outrageous cost of the procedure. She came up with the idea of letting students purchase strips of paper for a quarter, write a message for Sky on them and link them all together.

But she, and everyone else at the school, underestimated the heart of the TMS student body.

"I'm overwhelmed at their generosity," Ms. Cook said.

Friday afternoon, Sky got to see the more than 5,600 links of love that were sold in her honor. That represents more than $1,400 in quarters from TMS students.

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Sky poses with the TMS team that raised the most money.

"I just feel so much love for our family," Mrs. Strong said. "Look at the selflessness. They could have chosen to buy ice cream, but they chose to do that for a little girl that they've never met before."

For seventh grader Miranda Barker, there was no choice in the matter. She said she gave because it was right.

"She was in need, and I heard that she had cancer and that her family needed to pay for all her medicine," she said. "So it was right to give the money to her because she needed it, and she was very sick and in need."

TMS Principal Claude Powell said the amount of money raised by the students as well as the additional $300 raised by faculty and staff "speaks volumes."

"It just goes to show that our faculty and our staff cares about our own," he said. "What we're trying to do here is instill in our kids that we care about our fellow man."

Mrs. Strong said doctors have told her that children who suffer from the kind of tumor Sky has are only given a 14 percent chance to be alive five years after treatment. But her family has faith that Sky will be around much longer.

"We don't look at the facts; we look at faith," Mrs. Strong said. "She's overcome so many obstacles. They said she wouldn't talk, she may not walk. And she's running. She's screaming. She's singing."



Web posted on Wednesday, November 23, 2005











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