Sun. Jun 16th, 2024

Students raise $5,000 to support classmate

By Bryce Crossman May 24, 2024

Inspired by a teacher’s example of caring for others, Oak Hill High School students raised more than $5,000 to support a classmate during her battle against cancer.

Ruth Tripp, a senior at Oak Hill High School, found out she has Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer, last fall. Hodgkin’s lymphoma can be found in the lymph nodes, spleen, liver, and other areas in the body.

“It just meant a lot. Just knowing how hard these freshmen, some of which I’ve never met, and sophomores, that worked so hard to try and help me even just a little bit,” Ruth said.

Rebecca Willis, an English teacher at Oak Hill High School, originally approached Ruth about the fundraiser.

“Every year she does a fundraiser that her students help raise money for, and she told me that she wanted to do this for me,” Ruth said.

Willis gave each student a personal goal to make the fundraiser successful.  Generally, each student needed to raise less than $10 to meet fundraiser’s $500 goal.

Some students went into the community and asked for donations, resulting in several individual donations of hundreds of dollars. Altogether, the students, with the community’s support, raised $5,416 to benefit Ruth and her family.

“I think the thing that really struck me the most is just the fact that no matter what (Ruth) was doing, whether she was here, whether she was getting chemo, she always had a smile on her face,” Willis said.

Ruth’s father, Steven Tripp, a professor of natural science at Indiana Wesleyan University, spoke of the impact the community, and the cancer diagnosis has had on him as a parent.

 “As a parent, watching your child go through this and recognizing not only the illness but the potential mortality and recognizing how this is going to affect your child’s life, not just in the immediate but probably a lifelong concern, it’s overwhelming,” Steven said.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society approached Ruth to be its honored hero a couple of weeks ago.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society raises money for people with blood cancers. One-third goes to helping patients, one-third goes to helping the patients, and the final third goes to making sure the patients get the right treatments and medicine.

“So, actually, my first event I’ll be speaking at is on June 4, and I’ll be sharing my story and everything, and how everyone has helped me so much and what I’ve gone through,” Ruth said.

She also participates at Faith in Motion, a dance studio in Marion. For her senior recital she chose to dance to Jordan St. Cyr’s song “Fires.” Ruth chose the song before her cancer diagnosis in the fall.

“The chorus is, ‘You’ve walked me through fires, pull me from flames. When you’re in this with me, I won’t be afraid. When the smoke bill is higher, on higher, and it feels like I can barely breathe, I’ll walk through these fires because you are walking with me.’ And those words have just meant everything to me this semester,” Ruth said.

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