With a goal of spreading compassion and good deeds, the students at Pine Trail Elementary School made sure Camila Fraguada knew she wasn’t fighting cancer alone.
Emily Ayers almost didn’t make it past 10 months old.
Diagnosed with congenital neutropenia, a very rare blood disorder, Ayers has been in and out of hospitals for most of her life. So when the now 7 year old was given an opportunity to give back to someone in a similar situation, she took it.
“She understands,” said her mother, Stacy Ayers. “When she learned about Camila, she said ‘We have to get a card.’”
Camila Fraguada, a 7-year-old from Deland who is currently battling leukemia, got a lot more than a card. Her new friend also gave her a stuffed animal and the other half of a friendship necklace.
“Emily is a very caring kind of person,” Stacy Ayers said. “It’s all her.”
Emily Ayers is just one of the hundreds of superheroes that attend Pine Trail Elementary School. As a part of their mission to do good deeds, the students raised money to help Fraguada through the Childhood Cancer Foundation, and invited her to visit their school Nov. 4 so they could show her how much support she really has.
“We wanted you to know that you’re not alone,” said third-grade teacher Sussi Mulcahy. “We know it’s not easy, and Emily especially felt that in her heart. We wanted to make sure you knew.”
Mulcahy’s class was instrumental in getting the word out about the fundraiser by visiting other classrooms, making posters, hosting a parade and inviting Fraguada in for a tribute — some real-life superhero stuff.
“When you have cancer it’s kind of tough,” Camila Fraguada said as she held back a few tears. “The first round is really hard with the chemo, but afterwards it gets easier.”
The students took turns asking Fraguada questions about her life, and Mulcahy read a book about the importance of doing good deeds, even for people you might not get along with.
“What you did when you helped Camila is something you should be proud of,” she said. “It’s about doing good and not because you have to. We have to take care of each other. I want to challenge you all to try your best to find the good in everybody. You have to find it in your heart.”
Rose Fraguada said she was overwhelmed that an entire school, filled with people she had never met, would be so willing to support her and her family.
“I feel blessed that I have so many people helping out,” she said. “Sometimes we feel like we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but the foundation and this school is really special. People think that childhood cancer is something that happens once in a while, but it’s very frequent. It’s important to give more awareness.”
However, Camila Fraguada wasn’t the only person who benefited from the school’s actions.
“It’s great for the children to make a real world connection,” Mulcahy said. “They feel good doing something for others.”
'Crazy Hat Week’
Pine Trail Elementary School raised $1,446 for Camila Fraguada and the Childhood Cancer Foundation. From Oct. 26 to Oct. 30, students donated money, made signs and wore some interesting headgear in honor of Fraguada. The school has been working with the Children Childhood Foundation for eight years.
Race for Childhood Cancer: Holiday Classic 5K
Join the Childhood Cancer Foundation for their third-annual Holiday Classic 5K. Hosted by Stonewood Tavern and Grille, celebrate the Holiday Season with a great Daytona Beach Track Club Grand Prix event through the residential neighborhoods of Ormond Beach. The out-and-back course will take place at the Stonewood’s Restaurant on Dec. 20, and participants will enjoy live entertainment and a buffet of food and refreshments. Awards will be given and Stonewood gift certificates will be awarded to top finishers.
Go to runnershighracing.com to sign up.
About the Childhood Cancer Foundation
Childhood Cancer Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides support to families with children that have been diagnosed with cancer. The organization helps in many different ways, including paying electric bills, buying groceries, clothes, shoes, gas cards, lodging at Ronald McDonald Home, car repairs or helping to find transportation.
Visit childhoodcancerfoundationinc.org to donate.