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Show and tell of support; Pearson Road school bands together for classmate's sister

Posted on 03/06/2009 12:00am

The Daily Courier (Kelowna)
Wed Jun 3 2009
Page: A3
Section: News
Byline: J.P. Squire
Source: The Daily Courier

It started with show and tell.

It ended with a flood of get-well cards and $300 in donations.

When Pearson Road Elementary student Laura was asked if she had anything to share with Grade 2 classmates during show and tell last week, she revealed her 16-year-old sister was in the anorexia unit at B.C. Children's Hospital.

"She and her mother can't talk about it without tears in their eyes," teacher Irene Koodrin said. "Everybody said they were all upset, but Amanda Barrett, one of the little girls, said immediately: 'We should raise some money for the children's hospital.'"

Students, teachers and parents brought 600 home-baked cookies and raised $147.55 during an afternoon bake sale last Friday.

Students from middle grades practised how to make change. They charged 25 cents per cookie.

"It just worked like clockwork. We had people with cameras and movie cameras. It was one of the most inspiring moments in my teaching career. ... I was inspired by the way they handled it. They are very close as a group." said Koodrin.

The proceeds will buy arts and craft supplies for girls in hospital fighting the disorder. Also, teacher Maureen Henwood's Grade 1 class made get-well cards.

As Laura's mother was sharing her story with Koodrin, Elaine, the custodian, overheard and said: "Why don't we as a staff raise some money for the family?" Teachers and other staff at the Rutland school then placed $150 on a large cardboard money tree for Laura's family to help with expenses.

Laura's mother is "just an exemplary nurse" at Kelowna General Hospital, "so empathetic, really, really kind to the people she works with, so we wanted to return the favour to her family," said Koodrin.

"It just blew my mind. It drove me to tears," said Laura's mother, her voice choked with emotion. "I was really touched, overwhelmed and felt really supported."

Her daughter fought the disorder for three years before she was admitted to hospital in mid-April.

"She is doing well. ... She's gaining tools to help her when she comes out. We feel really, really lucky that she's there," said her mom.

Laura's mother has always been "a wonderful supporter of the school," said principal Susan MacNeil.

"When mom told us her daughter was struggling with this, we hurt for her, many of us having our own children, daughters in particular," she said. "Then when we heard she had been admitted to hospital, it startled everyone. Anorexia is the unspoken burden many families are carrying."

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