SILVER CREEK - The name Isabella Crowell could be heard throughout the assembly in the Silver Creek School auditorium and be seen on a sea of pink shirts on Thursday afternoon.
It marked part one of the Cut for a Cure, which Silver Creek students and staff put together for a 1-year-old girl with a rare form of childhood cancer. The girls varsity basketball team takes part in Pink Out The Gym every year, but this year is for Isabella. This year those pink shirts are for Isabella. This year the money they raise is for Isabella. This year the community is working hard to help Isabella fight.
The Advisors of Natural Helpers Kelli Gorman, Beth Miller, Emily and Linda Berek put this event together.
OBSERVER Photo by Jasmine Willis
Top: Silver Creek English teacher Christian Charles (center) waits his turn to get his Cut for a Cure.
OBSERVER Photo by Lisa Monacelli
Above: Silver Creek social studies teacher Jason Waterman gets his Cut for a Cure.
Isabella's mother, Rebecca Schafer, said she is impressed and amazed by the complete outpouring of strangers who are doing this for her little girl.
Schafer said the money being donated to her daughter will help considerably with transportation and hospital costs.
"Isabella is an incredibly strong little girl, very loving, always hugging and kissing and saying 'I love you'," she said. "After everything she is going through she is still such a beautiful little girl."
Schafer recalled how she got a phone call no parent ever wants to get. She was told in April 2013 her daughter had a rare form of childhood soft tissue cancer.
"Nothing can prepare you to hear those words, your child has cancer," she said. "It felt like the floor just dropped out from under me, and it was all very overwhelming."
Isabella's father, Jim Crowell is a member of the Volunteer Fire Department in Sheridan. Schafer said she didn't even know what to say.
Schafer has another daughter, 5-year-old Natasha Kemp, who has been a great big sister.
"She has always been the little mommy," she said. "She loves her little sister."
Schafer said she worried about how to tell her older daughter.
"How do you tell your 5-year-old that her sister has cancer," she said.
High School Principal Jim Klubek announced to the crowd this was a bittersweet assembly.
"It is fantastic for all of us to come together and help one of our own," he said. "We are going to do everything in our power to help this little girl."
Klubek said in just the afternoon part of the event they already raised $3,805 for Isabella.
"When you're on chemo it decreases your immune system," Schafer said. "When you have an infant who is going through chemo you have to be very careful, we can't wait to make up for lost time."
Schafer said Isabella has never been to the beach or been able to play in the snow, so she is looking forward to throwing a big party for her second birthday May 9, and the next winter.
"She learned how to walk in the hospital," she said. "She will have to have scans her whole life, but she will be done with chemo in February."
Schafer said Isabella is her hero and she is impressed with her positive outlook.
"It is hard enough to go through this when you're an adult, but they have had a whole life," she said. "This is the only life Isabella has ever known; she doesn't know a life without needles."
Schafer said for this school to be willing to do this for her family when there are no ties is impressive.
"Strangers have done such nice things, simple things, like cut off a balloon and give it to Isabella at the hospital," she said. "I think there is so much negative in the world we just don't see the positive, but this makes me feel like there is hope for humanity."
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