HUGHESVILLE - With the constant hospital trips to see several specialists, Addison Hauser isn't able to attend school.
But as she walks through the halls of Ashkar Elementary School, it's not hard to see how much the other students care about her. Students cheer "Addi" as she enters Melissa Olshefskie's classroom. Each student also greeted her with a hug.
Addison, 7, visits Olshefskie's sixth-grade classroom - her older brother Jayden's class - from time to time and recently was the recipient of a fundraiser created by the class. The students are making everyday items, such as wallets and folders, out of duct tape and selling them, with all proceeds going toward Addison's medical bills.
Sixth-grade students Jayden Hauser, Ryan Withers, Andrew Miller, Ashley Stackhouse and Kailyn Croucher show off the many items that they made out of duct tape. The art is being sold as a fundraiser to help Hauser’s sister, Addison, who was diagnosed with Familial Adenomatous Polyposis. Below, Andrew Miller and Jayden Hauser, Ashkar Elementary School students, work on making items for its fundraiser. And in the bottom photo, Lauren Hall, sixth-grade student, makes a folder out of duct tape. Hall is part of a group of students at Ashkar who are selling items to help pay a classmate’s sister’s medical bills.
The fundraiser started after Jayden told his class about how Addison was diagnosed with Familial Adenomatous Polyposis, a genetic disorder that develops tumors in the colon, at 1 month old.
The disorder can develop into cancer and the individual must have their colon removed.
Addison's mother, Destini McQuillen, and her older sister, Latisha, both have been diagnosed with it, as well.
Students said they wanted to help Jayden's family. Sixth-grader Kailyn Croucher came up with the idea to make duct tape art.
"Each year, I try to do a fundraiser that will help our school (and) our community," Olshefskie said.
A letter was sent home explaining the fundraiser along with an order form. Community members could order ties, bookmarks, flowers and other items made completely out of duct tape, McQuillen explained.
McQuillen said when she heard the class was planning on doing the fundraiser, she couldn't believe it.
"I cried," she said. "I was overwhelmed by the generosity of these children."
Students stayed afterschool to complete all of the orders on their own time.
At the beginning of the month, the class estimated it already used about 75 rolls of duct tape making items.
There were a few rolls of tape that were donated, Olshefskie said, but most had to be bought.
One of the students, Lauren Hall, said she was planning on using her birthday money on duct tape rolls to help with the project.
"As you can see, they're very generous, amazing kids," McQuillen said.
McQuillen believes the support from his classmates has been helpful for Jayden as McQuillen constantly needs to travel with Addison to see specialists around the state.
"I know it gets to be hard on him," she said.
McQuillen said the students don't see it as helping another family, but as helping their own family out.
"Every single one of these children act as if Addison is their little sister," she said.
The students have sent home baked goods, cards and encouragement with Jayden for the family, McQuillen said.
Jayden can't say, "Thank you," enough.
"I was very thankful to them," he said, "because they're helping my family with Addi. I can't thank them as much as I want to."