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Youth still battling cancer

SCOTTOWN — The 12-year-old cancer victim whose fight for his life has touched so many in the county is back home.

That according to personnel at Symmes Valley Middle School where Ervin Ray White was a student before he was stricken with a childhood cancer called ALL or acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

In January Ervin Ray underwent a bone marrow transplant at Children’s Hospital in Columbus and was released to go home last week, according to Pat Oliver, Symmes Valley guidance counselor.

That’s good news for his classmates, especially the school’s student council that recently gave up taking a school trip to donate the money they had raised for it to Ervin Ray.

It’s a tradition at Symmes Valley that at the end of each grading period students who have met certain requirements as far as grades, attendance and behavior get to go on a field trip.

The trips can range from going to the movies to bowling and skating to an indoor go-cart track in Charleston, W.Va.

Coming up with the money is the responsibility of the students. A lot of it comes from the students running the concession stand during sports events.

“The students are actually the ones who are there setting up sales to making the food,” Lance Humphrey, sixth and seventh grade teacher and council sponsor, said.

“It is several days a week in basketball season three or four hours working at the concession stand.”

The next trip scheduled was to be for Charleston; the cost of that would be $1,100. That was until seventh grader Jonathan Kouns suggested the funds go to Ervin Ray and his family.

“I realized how much fun he had on the trips and his parents didn’t have everything they needed,” said Kouns who understands what the White family is going through. The 13-year-old lost his own father to cancer when he was just 2.

Knowing the long bed rest Ervin Ray was undergoing the council decided to combine the practical with some fun. “We talked to his parents and they suggested video games while he was in the hospital,” Humphrey said. So the council bought an Xbox 360 game console, plus games to go with it.

“We also gave him a $100 gift card in order for him to buy some clothes because he has lost quite a bit of weight,” Humphrey said. “The rest we donated to the family for personal use.”

The community has rallied around this family with the Symmes Valley school’s band boosters holding numerous fund-raisers to help with travel and medical expenses as Ervin Ray had to go back and forth to Columbus.

There have also been contributions from outside the Symmes Valley area, including donations from the Ironton Band Boosters and the Rock Hill Middle School National Junior Honor Society.

Symmes Valley Student Council President Caleb Holderby knew the council would go along with the donation as soon as he heard Kouns’ suggestion.

“We wanted to give him as much as possible,” Holderby said. “We have a bunch of people who are willing to help out.

“I thought how awful it would be to be on bed rest. Other people need to realize you always get a good feeling to help out other people. It will always be a whole lot better to help someone else than just to think about them.”