Local childhood cancer survivor inspires his school

Wednesday was World Cancer Day. It’s a disease that doesn’t care what color you are, how much money you have, or even how old you are. Cancer in children is rare, but it’s the deadliest disease affecting kids in America.   

Gavin Schooley, a six-year-old boy in our area, was diagnosed with a type of cancer at seven-months that caused tumors to grow on his hip. Now he’s in remission, and his story is inspiring an entire school to suit up and fight for a cure.  

Gavin said, “I’m Spiderman today!” Caped crusaders and masked comic book superheroes took over Heath Elementary School. With his costume on, Gavin is just like every other kid, but when he takes it off you can see something special behind his smile. His teacher, Mrs. Rachel Dodson, said, “In all my years of teaching, I’ve never had at student that’s had cancer and gone through the things he’s gone though.”

Mrs. Dodson dubbed the week “Gavin’s Gold.” It’s a themed, week-long event designed to raise money for the Thumbs Up for Lane Goodwin Childhood Cancer Foundation. Gavin’s mother, Michele, said, “Lane Goodwin had the same type of cancer Gavin did, and his mother and I are from the same hometown.”

Michele and her husband, Brian Schooley, said they’re taking the support they have at Heath and paying it forward. “We want to help with the research and also the kids who are going through it at the time,” said Michele. It’s a familiar experience the Schooley’s look back on with gratitude now that Gavin is in remission. “To get the good news last week and then have this this week… that makes it even more special,” said Michele.

The tiniest members of a small community have learned what it’s like to be a super survivor through their friend Gavin.

The school has already raised more than $1,177. Each kid brings a dollar to participate in the day’s theme. Thursday is hat day, and they’re selling shirts and arm bands for a balloon release on Friday in Gavin’s honor.

Lane Goodwin was from Henderson, Kentucky, and died of cancer back in 2012 at just 13 years old. The foundation named after him funds childhood cancer research and provides resources and financial assistance for families fighting the disease.

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