Wearing of hats shows love; JHS student battling rare disease
by Lori Tippets
Students at Jacksonville High School were able to wear hats for one week recently, a violation of the student dress code. However, all was well with the administration as each student who wore a hat paid a dollar, money that went to the senior gift.

Each year seniors at the high school raise money for a senior gift. This year the seniors raised money to help one of their own.

Daniel Davis, who has been in the Jacksonville City School system since kindergarten, has a rare form of cancer called Ewing Sarcoma, a cancer that affects children and young adults.

The cancer affects the bone and also can affect soft tissue as well. Only a handful of cases are reported each year.

According to Daniel’s father, Randy, Daniel was diagnosed with the rare disease in the summer of 2010. Chemotherapy was started to help the disease from spreading.

Daniel’s cancer was located in the pelvis, close to the spine making it a hard and dangerous area to operate on. Daniel started chemotherapy for nine months and the cancer appeared to have stopped.

Daniel underwent periodic scans for 16 months to make sure that the cancer hadn’t started growing again. In November of 2012 the scan indicated that the mass had become active again. Daniel started back with the chemotherapy but it was determined that surgery would be the best option.

After several rounds of treatment the tumor seemed to have shrunk allowing surgery to be performed. Randy Davis said that this would require a very slow recovery process as the surgery involved removing part of the pelvis.

All efforts were made to get Daniel back home before the JHS prom. Daniel returned home on April 15 and on Saturday, April 20, he attended the prom, in a wheelchair, accompanied by his date, Hannah Nelson.

When senior class president, Natalie Owens, called Daniel’s mother, Denise, it was suggested that the money the seniors had raised, $600, go to Dani’s Foundation, a non-profit organization that was set up in memory of Dani Stell, a young girl who contracted Ewing Sarcoma at the age of 18 and passed away when she was 19. The money will be used to help with research of the rare disease.

Owens was very excited about the money that was raised for Dani’s Foundation. She is planning on sending pictures to the foundations website along with a story to show how the money was raised.

Dr. Gene Rhodes, senior advisor at JHS, was pleased with the efforts of the senior class and of the entire student-body as well. “This senior class is fairly close knit, they all have been so concerned about Daniel Davis.

“Having gone through that (Dr. Rhodes lost his wife Jan to cancer) I feel their pain and sorrow. The outpouring of the senior class and student body shows just how concerned the student body is for its members.”
© 2013