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Team Madison City Schools supports St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Team Madison City Schools is launching our annual drive in support of the lifesaving work at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Starting eight years ago as a way to teach students the importance of helping others, this campaign has raised more than $250,000 to help the fight against catastrophic childhood diseases.
Our students relate well to St. Jude. The campaign gives them the power to help other children in need.

Dennis James with Becca and Matt Harrison
Dennis James. director of student services for Madison City Schools, with Becca and Matt Harrison. Their daughter, Emmy, is under the care of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Every school in our system has had either a current or former patient at St. Jude. During this year’s campaign we are sharing patient stories of our local students. These stories are in the parents’ own words. We tell them in an effort to put a local face on St. Jude. They are testimonies of faith, of gratitude, of nervousness, of hope, and sadly, tragedy, as in the case of young JJ Lipski who did not pull through. Yet, his mother enthusiastically embraces our campaign to rid our planet of this awful malady.
Our goal is to raise $35,000. We hope you will consider supporting our team. Discovery/Bob Jones, Liberty/James Clemens, Columbia, Horizon, Madison, Mill Creek, and Rainbow have school campaigns with different ways to contribute. Heritage and West Madison will have a math-a-thon for St. Jude at a later date. You can also make a team donation by visiting http://heroes.stjude.org/mcs.
The Redstone Rocket published a story about the campaign that featured one of our students, Emmy Harrison. (http://www.theredstonerocket.com/news/article_d2c86906-497f-11e4-a054-5b4d278ea5bc.html. Stories of other local students follow. Thank you for supporting our school community’s efforts for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Dennis James
St. Jude Campaign Captain
Team Madison City Schools

Photos are now as a football player for Liberty Middle, earlier when Andrew was undergoing treatment.

My son, Andrew Cameron, who is at Liberty Middle, is 7 years in remission from Burkitt's Lymphoma. St. Jude's saved his life. He was stage 3 when he was taken to the Memphis location by ambulance. He now is a healthy, smart, and super happy young man. He plays football at Liberty. His name was in the newspaper recently portraying his admiral performance during the game. Andrew has mentioned he is interested in becoming a doctor one day. He can hopefully give back and help many one day just like his life was saved. Andrew is a joy to be around and we are blessed to have St. Jude's!
Misty Cameron
Andrew's mom

Photos below: Ben with a therapist at St. Jude when he was a student at Rainbow Elementary; now (R) in the band at Bob Jones High School

In March 2009, Ben had Destination Imagination Competition and had a meltdown, complaining of a bad headache. He went home, took some Tylenol and slept it off. The next day, he still had a headache and asked me to call the doctor. I called Dr. Dudley, on a Sunday because my 8 year old insisted his headache was something more. Through her direction I did a balance test and she asked me to bring him in on Monday to check him out. I did. She did the balance test, using a flash to look into the eyes and a X-Ray for sinus pressure with nothing suspicious getting her attention. She decided a medication to knock the headache out would be the best choice.
It didn’t work so she sent him for a CT scan to “rule out” some things. After the scan the technician asked us to wait while she lets Dr Dudley know she is done. I knew at this point something was wrong. We waited until she came to get us and told us Dr Dudley was THERE and needed to speak to us.
She sat Ben in my lap, facing her and told us Ben had a mass on his brain causing pressure and he had to have surgery immediately to remove it.  Ben had surgery the next day. Later we learned that his tumor, although not more than 3 centimeters in size, could have killed him instantly by pinching off the blood flow to his brain.  This most likely would have happened long before Ben experienced any outward symptoms of his tumor such as balance issues, vomiting etc.  Ben's tumor was benign. However, he continued his care at St. Jude's for two years every three months, then two years every six month and now every year until he reaches 17 years of age. This is to ensure no reoccurrence.
Wyndie Meyer
Ben's mom

Photos below: Ansley visiting the Peabody Hotel in Memphis with a friend. With a furry friend on therapy dog day at St. Jude. At "school" at St. Jude

My name is Vanesa Randall. My granddaughter, Ansley Smith, is currently undergoing treatment at St. Jude in Memphis. She would be a first grade student at Madison Elementary. I am writing because I don't think her mom and dad, Cassie and J.R. Smith, have had time. They left their jobs and are now living at the Ronald McDonald House at St. Jude in Memphis while Ansley is being cared for.Ansley's journey at St. Jude began on April 1, 2014. Her mom had taken her to Huntsville Hospital when treatment for what we thought was a sinus infection just was not working. She was rapidly getting worse. She couldn't breath, eat or talk. The doctors did a CAT Scan and discovered a tumor in Ansley's sinus cavity which was pushing her palet forward and was blocking her throat. A transport vehicle came from St. Jude that night and picked her and Cassie up, while J.R. drove up in his car.
The rest of that week was a whirlwind. They immediately began testing, and all sorts of scans. They put in a trek so Ansley could breath and they also inserted a feeding tube and chest tube. She was diagnosed with stage 3 embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma. Ansley and her parents just returned from the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute where Ansley received 33 treatments under the watchful eye of her St. Jude team of doctors. They have 9 months and 1 week to go in Ansley's treatment. She has to stay in Memphis for all of it.
We cannot say enough great things about St. Jude. It is an amazing place with an amazing staff! They not only take care of Ansley, but also of her family. They love Ansley like she is one of their own children. They have given her so much. They have cried with Cassie and J.R. They have loved on her older sister, Lacy, who is a 6th grader at Madison Elementary. They have tried to help us all understand as much as we can about what is going on with Ansley. Cassie and JR are very involved with her care and treatment.
They have an amazing child life program. They try to help Ansley work through all of the confusion and anger that she has had. There is also a music therapist, Ms. Amy. Anlsey LOVES her!  And they bring in Therapy dogs.They don't just focus on the physical, but also the mental part of cancer. We cannot say enough about St. Jude.
More of Ansley’s story can be found on www.thecaringbridge.org website under Ansley Abigail Smith.
Vanessa Randall
Ansley's grandmother

Our son Luke Baugher, was diagnosed with an incredibly rare tumor in his hand in 2010. Luke was almost four years old at the time, and there were only 150 documented cases of this tumor in the entire world.
After the initial shock of his diagnosis, we were told by local surgeons (after a failed attempt to remove the tumor) that the only other option would be an amputation procedure due to the locally aggressive nature of this disease. When we asked for a second opinion, St. Jude admitted our son within 24 hours. Our lives have never been the same since.

Luke immediately underwent an experimental protocol for the removal of his tumor, involving multiple surgeries and weeks of radiation therapy at the main St. Jude campus in Memphis, TN. Luke and I lived at the Ronald McDonald House during this time. We were given no promises that the treatments would work at the time, but St. Jude assured us that they were optimistic and would do everything they could to kill that terrible tumor.
I am happy to report that Luke is now a happy, healthy second grader at West Madison Elementary School. After his most recent scans in Memphis in August, we received the wonderful news that he is now three years disease-free.
Words could not adequately express the immense love and gratitude we have for St. Jude and the many doctors, nurses, and fellow patients that we have met during Luke's journey. I will never forget the first night we walked through the doors of that wonderful place, one of the first things we were told was that we were now a part of their family.
I could never imagine how meaningful those words would become. Luke will always be a part of the St. Jude family, and for that, we are forever thankful.
Kelly Baugher
(Luke's mom)


JJ LIPSKI: A sad story but with a message of hope

You’ve seen the commercials: adorable children with beautiful smiles hanging out with stars from screen and slope.
But it may not be the smile or the star you notice first. You see a child with no hair and start to look away. The smile draws you back, however, and then you start to listen. No family is ever turned away from St. Jude because of their inability to pay. Survival rates have increased tremendously. The annual thanks and giving campaigns for St. Jude.
Then you think. It’ll never happen to my kid.
I promise you, the day before diagnosis, it wasn’t my child with cancer either.

We had started adding symptoms together for several months, but our math was wrong. Brain tumor was nowhere in our equation.  As soon as JJ received his diagnosis of DIPG (diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma), he received his death sentence. “Go home and enjoy every moment” is not a phrase that leaves a parent - ever. Surgeries, treatments and trials later he died. Our 6 year old was dead. That’s when he became a St. Jude kid.
St. Jude doesn’t just treat children actively fighting for their lives. They research so that one day a cancer diagnosis will be able to come with a cure.  We’re not there yet. How I wish we were. I still have young children and I am afraid for their lives - every day.

But every day there is a small voice that says “One day…” One day I won’t be afraid. That day is not today and probably won’t be tomorrow. But with the treatments and research at St. Jude it will be some day.
I just wish it had happened one day before.
Before my child. Before yours.

Diana Lipski
JJ's mom/Heritage Elementary bookkeeper

Emmy Harrison had a skin colored bump on her knee that looked like a bug bite when she was 15 months old. The bump grew when she grew and became itchy and started to bleed.
By age four, it was removed. Emmy was diagnosed with Stage 3 Spitzoid Melanoma on the first day of the school year in 2010.
he left for St. Jude a week later and left two older siblings behind. Six surgeries on her leg left her learning to walk again and she had to heal before beginning treatment.
She began high dose chemotherapy the day before her fifth birthday. She lived at St. Jude for three months and returned home to finish maintenance chemo for a year.

St. Jude gave Emmy her childhood by throwing her two birthday parties in the hospital and celebrating other holidays. While on chemotherapy, it was important to live life to the fullest and she enjoyed zip lining, parasailing, snorkeling, and jet skiing.
She is currently two years cancer-free and goes to St. Jude in November for her three year post-chemo check-up. A third grader at Mill Creek Elementary, she loves all her classes and teachers. She is a Company Dancer at The Dance Company, Inc., and loves hip hop and tap.
It is a blessing to see her walk again, dance again, and enjoy life after all she has been through. A really cool thing lately: she made her dance team at her studio last year and won two national scholarships (which was emotional for our studio because we all know what she has been through). For one of them, she was one of about 15 dancers chosen from over 200-plus 8-13 year-olds. She went to nationals this summer and won the Confidence Award. She still has her setbacks (had two spots removed this year that were benign) and we are thankful that St. Jude is very proactive.
Becca and Matt Harrison
Emmy's parents.

Emmy's story and that of many other St. Jude patients can be found at: www.caringbridge.org and searching by name. Donations on behalf of Madison City Schools can be made via http://heroes.stjude.org/mcs








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