Glen Rose High School’s FCCLA (Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America) chapter began raising awareness and funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital last September, which is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month. FCCLA staged a “Gold Out” pep rally and collected change during football games for the hospital, which is based in Memphis, Tennessee.
Those fundraising efforts were organized by local FCCLA officers Ashlyn Perry, Jordan Voss, Collin Beatty and sponsor Jill Lawson. This cause is near and dear to Collin Beatty. He is the big brother of Nathan Beatty, who unfortunately lost his battle with DIPG, a type of brain cancer, when he was only nine years old in the summer of 2017.
Currently, there is no effective treatment for DIPG. After a good start in 2018, the FCCLA members knew that they wanted to continue to raise awareness and funds in the fight against that terrible disease.
September is an important month at Lori Gray Photography as well. Since the start of the business in 2017, Lori Gray Photography has donated all sales proceeds for the month of September to St. Jude, in honor of cancer survivor Avery Gray.
Avery Gray, Lori Gray's daughter, is a seventh grader at Glen Rose Junior High who received her cancer treatment at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth.
"But we know that St. Jude is the major research hospital and that her treatment protocol was either partially or fully researched and (developed) there," Lori Gray stated. "Research coming out of St. Jude is effecting cancer treatment everywhere. They are leading the way."
For those who may not know, Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month is represented by a gold ribbon.
St. Jude's is ranked as the nation's top hospital for children with cancer. It has pioneered more cancer treatments than any other children's hospital in the world, which has helped increase the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since opening more than 50 years ago. The survival rate for Wilm's tumor patients, which is the type of cancer Avery Gray had, in 1960 was around 45 percent. The survival rate today is over 90 percent.
Both FCCLA and Lori Gray Photography were unaware of each other’s efforts to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer, until earlier this spring when the FCCLA chapter decided to donate meals to local families whose lives had been touched by pediatric cancer.
The meal donated to the Gray family from the GRHS FCCLA, was the start of a partnership. After a short discussion, both organizations realized that they had the same goals and could raise more awareness and more funds if they partnered together.
Now there are plans in place to "gold out" the Glen Rose ISD schools in September. The FCCLA students are making arrangements for a “Go Gold” pep rally in September, as well as for collecting funds at football games.
On Monday, May 13, FCCLA officers Ashlyn Perry, Jordan Voss and Collin Beatty accompanied by Jill Lawson as well as Avery Gray and Lori Gray, met with the Sommervell County Commissioners Court. They presented the idea of “golding out” the Glen Rose square for the month of September, and the idea was unanimously approved.
Between now and September, both organizations will be working together to secure funding and wrapping up final details so they are ready to take pediatric cancer awareness and funding for St. Jude to a whole new level.
To keep up with this project and learn how to get involved please follow Glen Rose FCCLA and Lori Gray Photography on Facebook. Local businesses and community members are encouraged to join the cause by sending tax deductible donations to:
GRHS: Childhood Cancer Awareness Project
P.O. Box 2129
Glen Rose, Texas 76043