Earlier this year, a 7th grade student at Redlands Middle School was diagnosed with a serious form of cancer. Monday night, his school and the community helped him on his road to recovery in a big way.
For most of the year, life has been anything but easy for Connor Dowdy and his family. Connor, only 13 years old, was diagnosed with clear cell sarcoma, an aggressive form of cancer that left a six pound tumor on his kidney. As a result, he recently had the kidney removed. Through it all, he tries to live life as a normal middle school student.
"I've been good," said Dowdy. "It's been kind of tough and tiring because I've had to do a couple of surgeries and start chemotherapy."
Doctors say his outlook is promising -- but he still has to go through more treatment. After learning about his struggles and the fight that still lies ahead, his school decided to take action.
"We thought let's do something for the family because it's a hardship," said Kathy Pfister, a counselor at Redlands Middle School.
Monday night, the school held a chili dinner, silent auction, and cake walk in Connor's honor, with every penny made going towards paying his medical bills.
"We wanted to support the family in their time of need," said Sheryl Coffey, who attended the event with her family.
Hundreds upon hundreds felt the same way. Organizers say the lines were much longer than they expected and they nearly ran out of food.
"I'm really surprised that it's this big," said Pfister. "It's wonderful."
And it was big -- organizers say they were able to raise $12,600.
"It just shows that there's community support here in the Grand Valley and they support a kid that needs help," said Coffey.
The Dowdy family says they are touched, and Connor says the outpouring of support makes him want to fight that much harder.
"A lot of people are supporting me, a lot of people care," said Dowdy. "That makes me feel good."
If you weren't able to make it to Monday night's fundraiser and you still want to help out, a special fund for Connor has been set up at Alpine Bank. Donations can be made an any branch location.