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9-year-old given hero’s welcome at D’Evelyn

9-year-old given hero’s welcome at D’Evelyn
Posted on 01/29/2020
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Jalen Thompson received a hero’s welcome at D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School’s gym during a pep rally on Jan. 24. He was dressed like an astronaut — the thing he wants to be when he gets older, and for one day, he didn’t have to worry about his battle with leukemia.

Thompson, a nine-year-old who lives in Colorado Springs, got to participate in the prep rally by playing games and helping to host the event.

The prep rally wasn’t a typical one. It was a closing celebration for a week of fundraising D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School did for Make-A-Wish Colorado. The nonprofit helps grant wishes for children in Colorado who are battling critical illnesses. Thompson was the school’s featured “wish kid,” and he was celebrated at the prep rally. As a wish kid, Thompson gave the school a personal connection to understand the type of children Make-A-Wish Colorado supports.

“It’s amazing to think about how many people care about me and want to make sure that me and other kids with cancer and other bad diseases get better,” said Thompson.

Campbell Stack, a senior at D’Evelyn Junior/Senior, organized the fundraiser or “Wish Week.” Each day during the week of Jan. 20, the school had a different themed day like world culture day, baby vs boomer’s day and a jag spirit day — the school’s mascot. People could donate by contributing online, by going to local businesses, including Chipotle, Noodles & Company and Tuk Tuk Thai Grill and by attending school events like the Sadie Hawkins dance.

“For me, it’s just so special that I’m able to bring the community together for such an important topic. It’s such a special moment to see everyone stop caring about themselves and focus on trying to help out (Make-A-Wish Colorado),” Stack said.

The fundraising continues, but as of Jan. 24, the school had raised $5,251. 

Make-A-Wish Colorado reports more than 175 student groups raised over $1.2 million last year. In March, Thompson will get to go to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida through Make-A-Wish Colorado.

“It’s really cool to see (students) lead the charge and create this amazing experience for children who need it,” said Sarah Grosh, the development manager for Make-A-Wish Colorado.

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