Lemonade stand donates hundreds to Light the Night

Lilly, left, and Bailey Ruse, right, present a check to Katie Probst, center, this year’s Light the Night honoree and Wayne Center teacher.

KENDALLVILLE — The lemonade stand girls are at it again, this time to help fight cancer.

On Thursday, each kid at Wayne Center Elementary School gathered in the school’s gym to hear their principal, Jaime Carroll, talk about the upcoming Light the Night walk and see Bailey and Lilly Ruse present a check to their school’s team.

In total, the girls raised $841.02 for the team, which benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Light the Night and the donation hits home for Wayne Center in particular, since two of its teachers are in remission from Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

One, third-grade teacher Katie Probst, is also this year’s Light the Night honoree.

Probst was diagnosed with stage two Hodgkin’s lymphoma last July and has been in remission for about a year.

“I beat it, and I came back here and started student teaching,” she said.

Though cancer is not easy to explain to elementary school students, something they already understand is how to support those who are sick, something Probst witnessed firsthand.

“It just warms my heart,” Probst said. “My first graders, when they found out last year, they were heartbroken, but they were so supportive.”

And now, two girls from her school took initiative to give to the organization Probst said helped keep her alive.

“They decided to choose me when I got nominated (to be the honoree),” Probst said. “I didn’t go to them.”

Beth McDonald is another Wayne Center teacher who was diagnosed with lymphoma and is now in remission.

In her first year at Wayne Center nine years ago, McDonald said she was feeling tired frequently, and decided to go to the doctor, where she got the diagnosis.

“They found out that I had stage three going to stage four Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” McDonald said.

Then, she explained it to the kids in her classroom.

“We went around and read them a story, a Patricia Polacco story, and we talked about how my hair was going to fall out,” McDonald said.

But even with chemotherapy and radiation treatment, McDonald didn’t miss time at school.

“I worked right through chemo, so I worked the whole six months,” McDonald said.

Since her diagnosis, McDonald’s family has walked in Light the Night, but this year, they will be joining the new Wayne Center team.

Light the Night is Sept. 24 at East Noble High School.

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