Middle school helps with dying boy’s Christmas wish
by Megan Thornton
December 18, 2012 11:59 PM | 3589 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CANTON — Between taking final exams and preparing for the holiday season, Creekland Middle School students have spent the last week helping a young Kentucky boy fulfill his wish to break the record for receiving the most Christmas cards.

The boy, 9-year-old Dalton Dingus, who has stage 4 cystic fibrosis, gained national attention when thousands of cards poured in through the mail in support of his dying wish.

The Salyersville, Ky., boy’s original goal was 35,000 cards, according to ABC News.

Creekland Middle School’s goal is to send 3,000 cards.

On his “Dalton’s Destroyers” Facebook page, his mother Jessica wrote Friday that she estimated Dalton has already opened 100,000 cards.

Jessica Dingus, 27, told ABC News the cards keep her son going each day, despite him being sent home from the hospital in October.

“The cards give him something to look forward to. Something to get excited about,” she said. “The prayers are working.”

Though it’s unclear whether Dalton will break a world record, as ABC News reported that Guinness Book of World Records does not monitor a category for most holiday cards received, he has spread a message of hope to people across the nation.

Creekland Principal Dr. Deborah Wiseman said she and other teachers discussed having students participate in the initiative after seeing the story on television and coming across other advertisements for the initiative at local stores.

“We decided we want to help, so during literacy time all week all of our students are writing holiday cards,” Wiseman said.

Wiseman said the students will write as many cards as they would like to through Thursday when the cards will be delivered to Kroger at 115 Bill Wigington Parkway in Jasper.

“I always tell them giving is a way to show your love,” Wiseman said. “We need something happy right now.”

Lindsay Bowely’s eighth-grade language arts class was busy decorating cards Monday morning, writing words of encouragement and positive holiday messages.

“This is a little boy, so the more fun the card is, the better,” Bowley said to her class.

To send Dalton a Christmas card, address it to Dalton Dingus HC 62 Box 1249 Salyersville, KY 41465.

Bowley’s student Madison Burgard, 13-year-old daughter of Genine Burgard, drew a snowflake design she had been working on since Friday.

“I feel bad for him because he’s so young,” Madison said of the Kentucky boy. “I just want him to be happy for the holidays.”

In another classroom, 13-year-old Isabella Parris, daughter of Anthony and Lillibeth Parris, wrote a card for Dalton telling him she spoke with Santa Claus and he told her Dalton would be getting everything he wanted on his Christmas list.

“I have a 10-year-old brother and I know he would really like to see this,” Isabella said. “There probably aren’t many kids who would want (holiday cards) as opposed to something else like a gift.”

Tyler Johnson, 13-year-old son of Danielle and Chris Johnson, drew a Christmas tree on the front of his card and planned to write “Merry Christmas! You are the bomb,” on the inside of the card.

“He is a trooper,” Tyler said, explaining that his science teacher Jamie Strickland told him Dalton’s disease causes his lungs to build up with mucus, making it hard to breathe.

“Especially around Christmas and the holidays, I hope they pause and take some time to reflect and think about other, especially those going through a difficult time,” Strickland said. “I hope they take that second to pause and be thankful for their health and their families.”

Wiseman said after counting Friday, students had made over 1,300 cards. Her goal is to collect at least 3,000 cards by Thursday.

“Even though we’re the largest middle school in the county, we work hard to build a family atmosphere,” Wiseman said. “We all stick together. Our community and our parents are just that way.”

When Katie Sobolewski’s sixth-grade language arts class wrote their cards and letters, student Emmy Pouncey, daughter of Lisa and Randy Pouncey, said she wrote a message to Dalton saying she hopes he achieves his goal.

“He’s creative and different,” Emmy said. “I think most people would want a bike or something for Christmas but he wants love and joy from other people.”

The 12-year-old added she thought making the cards were a great activity for the school to be involved in.

“It makes us feel like we’re making a difference,” Emmy said.

To send Dalton a Christmas card, address it to: Dalton Dingus HC 62 Box 1249 Salyersville, KY 41465.

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