It was just an hour long show, but what a show.
Singing and dancing their hearts out from the bleachers école Nesika Elementary School students wowed the crowd as the back-up entertainers for internationally acclaimed singer and puppeteer Norman Foote Tuesday evening.
The Lake City Secondary School Columneetza campus gymnasium was filled to capacity for the concert hosted by Nesika students as a fundraiser for two of their fellow students, Chase Lamont, 11, and Summer Singleton, 6, who are both fighting life-threatening illnesses.
With great energy and enthusiasm the students sang, danced and waved their arms in the air while singing songs with Foote such as Grandfather’s Clock, Love my New Shirt, Shake a Leg, Bird Feeder and Gotta be Yourself.
For some songs the audience was encouraged to sing along and at one point Foote called several members of the audience to come up and join the fun singing and acting as giant puppets for the show.
Principal Yvonne Davis said 305 tickets were sold for the event which raised a total of $3,050. After expenses of Foote’s fee half that amount, plus more than $600 raised in donations so far will be split between the families of Chase and Summer.
“A huge thank you to the Nesika school community and the Williams Lake community at large, for supporting this event,” Davis said. “Huge kudos to our students for performing with such energy and enthusiasm and Norman Foote for his special gift of total audience entertainment.”
She said people who would still like to donate to the families can also drop off their donations at école Nesika Elementary.
Chase was diagnosed with liver cancer when he was age six and in Grade 1.
He fought and beat the cancer after six months of treatment and since then has been the poster child for COPS for Cancer in Williams Lake as well as fundraising endeavours for Ronald McDonald House and other cancer organizations.
Unfortunately in August 2016 while on a family picnic in Lac La Hache Chase suffered a stroke, from which his family said he is “bound and determined” to recover, reports Davis.
With the support of family and friends and his mother by his side in Vancouver, Davis said Chase has been working hard on his recovery at Children’s Hospital and Sunny Hill Rehabilitation Centre in Vancouver, while living at Ronald McDonald House.
“His days are spent working hard at physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, recreational therapy and schooling,” Davis said. “Chase is starting to get some speech back and has some ability to take steps in a pool.”
She said he is beginning to eat and loved the taste of a Starbucks’ brownie.
“We are very excited to have Chase back at Nesika in the future, as he hopes to be back in Williams in May,” Davis said.
Summer is fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the same type of cancer her older brother, Braidon, fought and beat 10 years ago.
Last fall Summer was complaining about aching bones and had trouble lifting her shoulders. At the insistence of her mother Jenn, Summer was sent to a specialist who diagnosed her with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Summer was diagnosed Jan. 24 and began chemotherapy treatment at Children’s Hospital Jan 29.
The treatment regimen will be a two and a half year process.
Summer and Jenn stayed at Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House for the first intensive rounds of chemotherapy which she stayed in Vancouver for until the first week in March.
Since then Jenn and Summer have made the two-day trip to Vancouver once a week for Summer to have her chemotherapy treatments.
“We feel it is better for Summer to be home around her brothers and family,” Jenn said. “She is doing well and in good spirits.”
The chemotherapy reduces Summer’s blood counts lowering her immune system, so she is not able to go to school where there is a greater risk of infection.
But Jenn said Summer has been able to have some play dates when her friends are not sick and is working on her Grade 1 studies at home with the help of her teachers at Nesika and the GROW Centre.
Blood clots are a side effect of the chemotherapy treatment for which Summer must also take medication every 12 hours.
At the end of May, Summer and Jenn will move back to Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver for another eight-week round of intensive chemotherapy treatment during which doctors will have to monitor her progress closely.
Jenn said earlier that Summer would have her blood tested at Cariboo Memorial Hospital Tuesday morning and if her blood counts were high enough she would be able to wear a mask and stand at the back of the gymnasium to watch the Norman Foote concert that evening.
Unfortunately Summer was unable to attend the concert. “Nesika is such a supportive school,” Jenn said in thanking the school for hosting the fundraising concert. She said Principal Davis even visited Summer when she was in hospital in Vancouver.