Last February, Gabe Zullo, now a freshman at Guilderland High School, was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. For a year, Gabe has undergone aggressive medical treatment, all while participating in school remotely. Gabe will regularly attend his virtual class sessions wearing the very blanket his English class sent him to help support him through his treatment. “Gabe is a wonderful and hardworking young man, who gives 100% despite how he’s feeling,” said Danielle Benner, English teacher at GHS.
As Gabe is finishing his last round of treatment, Jenna Meier, a junior at GHS, is starting the year-long treatment for the same Ewing Sarcoma diagnosis. To help support Jenna and her family, members of the Guilderland school community coordinated a chicken parmigiana fundraiser this week with over 730 meals ordered. “This next year will be a battle and will change Jenna’s life forever. I hope that by taking a little pressure off her medical costs, it helps the family focus on healing together,” said Michael Schaffer, a teacher at Lynnwood Elementary School and coordinator for Jenna’s fundraiser.
According to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Ewing Sarcoma is more likely to occur in children and teenagers and is so rare that about 200 children and young adults are diagnosed each year in the U.S.
Members of the Guilderland High School community are coordinating a campaign to spread awareness about Ewing Sarcoma and support Gabe and Jenna and their families. Around Guilderland, firehouse signs display #JennaStrong and #GabeStrong. Anyone can purchase masks and t-shirts to wear on a designated Stronger than Sarcoma Day, which will take place on Friday, April 30.
“In situations like this, there are often people who want to help but don’t know how to. Organizing the fundraiser and awareness campaign allows us to create an opportunity for others to offer support through the generosity of donations and of spirit,” said Erin McNamara and Danielle Benner, both teachers at Guilderland High School and organizers of the campaign.