Challenge accepted: Panhandle students rally behind boy battling cancer

Challenge accepted: Panhandle students rally behind boy battling cancer
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

PANHANDLE, TX (KFDA) - Aaron Hughes has been admitted to the Children's Health Hospital in Dallas for osteosarcoma.

The 12-year-old had surgery to amputate his right leg due to the cancer, and his chemotherapy has been pushed back due to infection

While he's facing the hardest battle of his life, he's not fighting it alone.

"We just got really interested in ways to help this family out," said Stella Oliver, member of the Panhandle High School Student Council. "Knowing they weren't really able to support themselves as well and because of how much time they've had to spend in the hospital."

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About a month ago, the Panhandle High School Student Council decided to start fundraising for his medical and travel expenses.

"Just pay five bucks and instead of having a 30 minute lunch, you get an hour long lunch on a Friday," said Bradlee Brandvik, executive vice president for the Panhandle High School Student Council.

"There was still plenty of kids would paid more than five dollars," said Mason Reynolds, senior class representative for the Panhandle High School Student Council.

They raised $761 for Aaron's family, with the help of the entire student body.

"The check itself was signed by just about every student at Panhandle High School to show that it's not just the student council, but the entire school and community are behind them 100 percent," said Jeffrey Langehennig, class vice president.

If you're interested in helping Aaron's family with medical and travel expenses, click here.

Panhandle Student Council Sponsor Sheryl Oliver said their efforts have been inspired by the late Tatum Schulte.

"Nothing could honor her more and her family more than for people to just kind of embrace that same team spirit and reach out to somebody new," said Oliver.

That team spirit is spreading quickly.

After delivering their donation, the students posted a video, challenging other student councils to join the cause.

Before they knew it, students in Wellington and Claude have accepted the challenge, and Panhandle students are determined to get even more on board.

"I guess our challenge is to just put forth the effort," said Noah Ford, community service coordinator for the Panhandle High School Student Council. "Put forth you know some contribution from everywhere in the area and I think that'll make a huge difference."

"Even though we're 80 miles apart, we're all still connected at our values," said Brandvik.

While Aaron is in Dallas receiving treatment, he still knows his friends at home have his back.

He said he's thankful for all of the support.

Because his incision site from the amputation isn't healing very fast, Aaron's mom Crystal Mitchell said he has made the decision to go into hospice care.

While the incision heals, Aaron can't receive the chemotherapy he needs.

Doctors say there is nothing more they can do for him right now, but Mitchell is grateful for all the support from across the Panhandle during this difficult time.

"Knowing that there are people out there that do care for a kid his age," said Mitchell. "It's amazing to see that there are still good people that they will do what they can for a kid."

Mitchell said they hope to be back in Fritch next week.

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