$6,000 raised so far as teachers “camp” on bus to raise money for student with cancer

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – By the time Shelbyville Middle School principals and teachers headed back on a bus to the school parking lot, they’d raised around $6,000.

The principals and teachers are spending the night on the bus.

That $6,000 is all going to student Kiara Lee and her mom.

This isn’t the first time Principal Ryan Mikus, his assistant principals and a few others have spent the night at the school.

Lee is the school’s second student in less than a year diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Last year principals and teachers spent a day and a half on the school’s rooftop to raise money for Kory Stewart, who was diagnosed with the same form of leukemia last fall.

“The same grade?” remembered assistant principal Kyle Huerkamp. “It was just complete shock when we found that out.”

So this time, they swapped the #KoryStrong banner for one saying #KiaraStrong.

“The people of central Indiana really came out to support Kory last year and we knew we wanted to do something for Kiara, but we couldn’t do the same thing,” said Huerkamp. “We had to do something unique for her.”

They’ve been on the bus since 8 a.m. Thursday, moving from the school to downtown, back to the school in time for student pick-up and then to WalMart to hit the evening shopping crowds, before heading back to the school at night.

The goal is to give Kiara and her mom as much financial help as they can. Kiara is in remission just a month after being diagnosed, but will still have chemotherapy treatments for the next 2.5 years to try to keep the cancer away.

“It makes me feel like, I don’t know, like somebody cares and that’s really what I need through this,” said Lee.

With all the support they received, Kory’s family is now paying it forward.

Kory’s mom Lea Stewart is helping Kiara’s mom with her in-home chemo treatments, since she spent several months doing them for Kory. Now she’s determined to help draw in more donations for Kiara too, telling everyone she knows how they can support the family.

“You need that support constant because whether it’s being up there or being here at home, you know, there’s times that you’re down, you know?” said Lea. “Because you’re seeing your child go through something that you never want to expect to go through.”

That pain Kiara, Kory and their families feel is what’s inspiring these teachers.

“We knew we were not going to be comfortable,” said Huerkamp. “This was not going to easy. But it’s nothing compared to the fight that Kiara’s got in front of her or that Kory has been battling for the past year.”

Each drop in the bucket over the 30 hours is what will give each person hope and strength.

It just lets me know that everything’s going to be all right and I’m still going to be strong in the end of it,” said Kiara.

The principals and teachers will stay on the bus collecting donations until noon tomorrow.

You can also send donations to Shelbyville Middle School:

1200 W. Mckay Rd. Shelbyville, IN 46176