Community gives back to teacher battling breast cancer
Former students and community members came together for two days last week and donated over $5,000 for Crestview Elementary teacher Cristina Reeve who is battling stage IV metastatic breast cancer.
The money was raised through a program called Camp Jalapeño House hosted at the home of Joni Street on Thursday, Aug. 1 and Friday, Aug. 2. She said the idea to host the camp came about when her family sat down to think of an idea for a summer activity.
“My kids and I were sitting in the living room just talking about summer and all of the things we wanted to do and one thing led to another and I said ‘What is something we can do to help somebody else,’” Street said. “And so we start pitching out different ideas and we brought up Cristina Reeve and my one daughters was like ‘We could have a bake sale.’ We started brainstorming and making a list and then we had lemonade stand and bake sale and we are big slime people(...)so I was like we could do slime kits. We were brainstorming and my daughter Gracie says ‘Why don’t you just combine a bunch of stuff and just have a camp.’”
The family compiled a list of everything they thought children would be interested in which included a slime lab, jungle gym obstacle course, water balloon bounce, rock art, water blob, air fort painting, foam puff paint, rainbow art, egg walk and more. Street was able to enlist the help of two of her friends, one a former resident, and her current neighbors on Spivey Hill, the Wildes. The group established a goal of how much they wanted to raise.
“So I set a goal and I said ‘How much money do we want to raise, how much do you think,’” she said. “So the girls kind of both came to the conclusion of $500 together and I was like ‘Man I was hoping at least like $1,000,’ because I think $1,000 would be great. So, the numbers start coming in and the kids start coming in and I thought ‘We are going to make multiple thousands and we are going to need some help,’ so I texted my friend Jamie who said ‘That’s great, I will donate the food,’ so she went to Sam’s (Club) and loaded up her car with all the snacks and food.”
Forty-plus children showed up to the event for two days with attendance costing $75 for one day or $125 for two days. There was no age limit set on the camp and Street said those who dropped off their children donated more than the amount needed for the camp.
“Most every single person paid even $5 or $10 or $50 or $100 more than the price we put on the thing,” she said. “I did $75 for one session and $125 for two sessions and most everyone is giving extra. Yesterday, I was standing out here running a water blob and a lady pulls up in a car, gets out, writes me a check and walks back to her car. She didn’t have kids, she didn’t have anything. Lots of people have given to the cause and offered to sponsor kids.”
Each day the campers, on top of participating in a number of events, signed a large card which will be given to Reeve when they present her with the money. Reeve, who showed up on Thursday to drop her daughter off at the event, said she could not believe the amount of people who came out to support her family.
“I’m just overwhelmed with gratitude,” Reeve said. “I can’t even put into words how amazing this is because number one, a lot of these kids I taught, so I love to come see them play and number two, just to open her home to the community to come somewhere and do something fun for the end of the summer and to raise money for our family, all I keep thinking is it is overwhelming. I am so grateful.”
For the rest of the story, see the Wednesday, Aug. 7 edition of The Graham Leader.