Miller Perry students raise more than $2,200 for eighth-grade cancer patient

Rick Wagner • Oct 13, 2018 at 3:00 PM

KINGSPORT — Sullivan County students just keep raising money for Chloe Cress, an Innovation Academy of Northeast Tennessee student battling cancer at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

Students at Miller Perry, where Chloe went to elementary school, during the week of Oct. 1 raised more than $2,200 for her with a “coin war” at the school. Chloe attended Colonial Heights Middle before moving to IA, which is co-located with Holston Middle School near Tri-Cities Airport.


Chloe was diagnosed with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, also known as RMS. It is a rare and aggressive form of pediatric cancer. Chloe is receiving a combination of chemotherapy and radiation treatment at St. Jude. Her father, Shawn Cress, had to leave his job in order to be with her during the months-long treatment in Memphis.

“Our Student Council fifth-graders basically arranged the whole thing,” Miller Perry fifth grade teacher Brittany Ivanich said of the fundraiser. Among the teachers, she said, fellow fifth grade teacher Shannon Brashear headed the effort, but the whole faculty and student body worked together on the project.

“The kids really ran with it,” Ivanich said. “It was the students who did everything.”


Students had a contest to collect the most money in coins, competing by their homerooms. However, members of opposing teams could bring in bills to put in those collections and reduce the total amount of money collected by that group in the competition. For instance, if a group collected $51.27 in coins, an opposing team member could bring in a $20 bill and reduce the amount that went toward the competition to $31.27.

The Student Council each day keep a running count of which classes were ahead.


As reported Sept. 28, a Sept. 25 middle school football game in Sullivan County between Holston and Sullivan North middle schools raised more than $2,200 for Chloe. Both teams and cheerleaders wore gold bows to honor her.

“We appreciate everything. It means so much to me and her,” said Shawn, a single parent, in a phone interview from Memphis last month. “No matter how little or big, it gives her motivation to keep fighting.”

Shawn said his daughter is about four months into a year-and-a-half treatment regimen and has been able to make two weekend visits home so far since she went to Memphis for treatments in early June.

Chloe’s Facebook page has more information about her and her bout with cancer, including updates by her father.



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