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FHHS students helping one of their own

Forest Hills junior Reagan Thomas continues on a long journey in her search for a pain-free life. This photo is courtesy of her friend Lena Rushing who says that Reagan loves dogs and often volunteers her time at the local animal shelter.

Winterfest Spirit Week at Forest Hills marks a time for celebrating. It's kind of like Homecoming is in the fall, still showing school spirit, but this time honoring winter sports. This year it was all those things, but it was also something much more. This year, as students did the fun things they always do, they also raised funds during the week to help a classmate who is fighting a difficult battle against an incurable disease.

Reagan Thomas, daughter of Michael and Dana Thomas, is a 16-year old junior at Forest Hills. For 11 years, she has suffered from an incredibly painful disease called Chronic Hereditary Pancreatitis. Her journey for a pain-free life has led her and her family to the University of Minnesota Masonic Hospital where she recently underwent life-saving surgery, her only hope for a normal life. She hopes to be able to eat again, to go to school, and to live without pain, a pain that is sometimes unbearable despite the medicine she takes. Her recovery will be a long process, and even after her release from the hospital, she and her family will have to stay in Minnesota for at least two months.

Reagan's friends and schoolmates decided that during Winterfest, they wanted to raise money that would help Reagan and her family offset the cost of medication, lodging, and other expenses incurred in this long recovery process.

The first thing Student Council did was a "Stop the Bop" campaign. During class changes for the week, a very annoying song was played over the sound system. It would only stop once students had raised $300. So $300 would "Stop the Bop," but if they made it to $400, each class could choose one song to play during a class change. The Yellow Jackets met that goal!

They also decided that to elect the Winterfest King and Queen, they would wage a Penny War. Each nominee had a jar in the cafeteria, and to vote, students could put money in the jars during lunches all week. The guy and gal with the most money at the end of the week were named the Winterfest King and Queen. All the proceeds collected in voting also went to help Reagan.

After school on Friday, following the pep rally, Student Council hosted an After School Winterfest Bash. Students could pay $1 to attend, hang out, and eat pizza before the basketball games began. Again, all money raised was for Reagan.

At the end of the week, and with an additional donation from Mr. Bryan Rudolph's Honors Global Citizens class, the school had raised $2,082.50.

The desire to help Reagan and her family has extended well beyond the week as students continue to support the effort.  Junior Hailey Carpenter is coordinating the school effort to help with the larger project of selling bracelets on behalf of the family. The bracelets, which are also available throughout the community, are purple rubber. They say "fighting for a pain-free life" and bear Reagan's name. Students are spreading the word on the morning broadcast, and response is good.

If you would like one of the bracelets, visit the main office at Forest Hills. If you would like to donate money to help Reagan and her family during her recovery, please visit their Go Fund Me page: "Support a Painfree Life for Reagan."


Written by: Melissa Howell
Posted: Feb 20, 2015 by Melissa Howell

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