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Fighting cancer with the spirit of Christmas

The holidays are a busy time of year, but some people believe the Christmas spirit exists in giving to others.

The Cancer Club at Hillcrest High School took that belief to heart, and brought a little light to those who need it the most.

A cure for cancer can’t be found gift-wrapped and under a tree, or in a stocking hanging from the fireplace. But a group of students at Hillcrest High wanted to make sure that cancer’s fighters had a merry Christmas anyway.

“My mom has had cancer, and it’s just something that a lot of people struggle with,” said Katelyn Jones, Hillcrest senior. “So we thought maybe if we could make their Christmas a little brighter by showing them that we care about them, then maybe that would help.”

The patients of Snake River Oncology had a Christmas surprise from the school’s Cancer Club. A total of 36 “Chemo Kits” were presented to them and were full of supplies to help ease the effects of chemotherapy — things like fleece blankets, hats, gloves, lotion, lip balm, socks and candy.

“A lot of times when they’re getting their chemotherapy, they’re really cold,” said Julie Reinwald, oncology nurse. “So the blankets, the gloves and the booties all help with that.”

But the club says raising money to buy those gifts wouldn’t have been possible without the help of their classmates. In just five minutes, students at Hillcrest donated more than $600.

“We told all of the students that we would only be collecting money for five minutes during our morning announcements,” said Kaylee Corneilson, Hillcrest senior. “We didn’t know if that would be really successful, but we raised about $650 from the spare change that students wanted to give.”

And for Paul Botero, a patient at Snake River Oncology for the last four years, the Chemo Kit came at just the right time.

“This is a funny disease. Some days you feel alright, some days you don’t,” said Botero. “I appreciate the kids going through the trouble to let us know that they’re thinking about us.”

Hillcrest High School’s Cancer Club was created two years ago by students and teacher, Linda Hostert.

The goal of the club is to help raise awareness of cancer and to create support for those affected by the illness.

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