PENDLETON — Just after winter break, when most students were looking ahead to the second half of the school year, Abby Davis was getting some very bad news.
Davis, a junior at Pendleton Heights High School, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The news was shocking to Davis’ classmates, who describe her as a healthy, happy-go-lucky teen.
Davis’ classmates decided to show their support and how much they care by starting a fundraiser to help the family with medical bills.
They’re selling “Abby’s Army” shirts and bracelets, with proceeds going to the family.
Paityn Hill, a junior at Pendleton Heights, became friends with Davis when they were in seventh grade. She said many of Davis’ friends wanted to show their support.
“We knew that bracelets and T-shirts would be very popular,” Hill said. “So far, everyone has been very supportive … A lot of people love and care about her.”
The group of students came up with a design and started selling shirts for $10 and bracelets for $2.
Junior Savannah Hawhee has been Davis’ friend since second grade. Davis’ faith is paramount in her life, Hawhee said.
Prior to the first chemo treatment, Davis was prayed over by members of Fall Creek Christian Church.
That’s where they came up with the name “Abby’s Army” and thought it would be perfect to put on the shirts and bracelets.
The charcoal-colored shirts also have a violet ribbon on them to represent the Hodgkin’s lymphoma disease.
On the back they put words from one of Davis’ favorite Bible verses — “Saved By Grace Through Faith” — and they cited another verse on one of the shirtsleeves.
Pendleton Heights teacher Kasey Gary is helping the students coordinate the fundraiser.
Her daughter, junior Brinkley Gary, also is a good friend of Davis and part of the group supporting her.
Kasey Gary has been thrilled watching Brinkley, other friends and the community rally around the teen in her time of need.
“This whole group is so close, and that’s why they wanted to do something for her,” the teacher said.
Many were taken aback when Davis was diagnosed. She’d always been a healthy and active student, taking part in track, cross country and theater while serving as class president.
Junior Emma Drinkut said everyone knows the family and supports them. Davis’ mother, Lesley Davis, is a teacher at East Elementary School.
The girls, including Davis, are also part of a Bible study group, Anchors Away, and say their faith will pull them through.
The group has been selling the shirts and bracelets through social media and plan to sell them at the remaining varsity boys basketball games. They have also created a gofundme page.