When Charlene Kehoe went to Charlotte Amalie High School on Wednesday, it was to collect a $200 check for a St. Croix teenager with cancer that a group of students had responded to.
She left $455 richer than the $200 expected and with a morning Kehoe said she will never forget.
Kehoe is director of Cancer Support V.I., which provides information and education to anyone affected by cancer, and the V.I. Cancer Patient Fund, which provides money for uninsured or underinsured patients.
Though she has helped hundreds of cancer patients, Kehoe said, this recipient of the CAHS donation, 18-year-old Joseph Harris, was "unlike any case she had come across.”
He suffers from a rare form of cancer – Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma of the left maxillary sinus cavity. When Kehoe spoke to his doctors, she found he was only being treated for the pain; with no surgery or other treatment.
Kehoe went to work and Harris is now being treated in Puerto Rico. She explained his situation in a May 29 story on the Source. (See link below.)
The CAHS homeroom class 12-13 had already decided to raise money for someone with cancer this year, so when they read about the St. Croix student they decided Harris would be the perfect recipient, and they raised $200 from their own savings.
The class teacher, Wendy Andrews, invited Kehoe to the stage this morning, where the entire 2015 graduating class was practicing for the ceremony. Kehoe told the students how much their $200 would help Harris. She said it would help him and his mom with transportation to St. Croix, which prompted the students to yell "group hug,” and Kehoe found herself surrounded.
Kehoe said later today she is still getting over the "incredible” experience.
And that wasn’t all. The joy of giving was contagious. "One of the teachers,” Kehoe said, told the students: "Let’s all dig into our pockets right now and give our McDonald’s money to this young boy in need. We will pass a bag around, and I will donate $250 myself.”
Kehoe said they raised another $205 from the graduation class, so the total is $655.
Those who want to help can make a donation to the Community Foundation of the VI (please note Cancer Fund in the memo section,) P.O. Box 11790, St. Thomas, VI 00801. The foundation said 100 percent of the donation goes toward the assistance of cancer patients in need. More information is available by contacting Charlene Kehoe, director, Cancer Support VI, at 1-340-715-5806.