Vt. school rallies around student's cancer fight - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. school rallies around student's cancer fight

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RANDOLPH, Vt. -

Alyssa Miller has Hodgkins Lymphoma. She has had 10 months of chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant and four weeks of radiation. In the midst of all of that, she has taught her teachers and fellow students an important life lesson.

You don't have to go far at Randolph Union High School to spot one of these shirts. It's part of a Sea of Pink event raising money in honor of senior Alyssa Miller.

"We first wanted all the proceeds to go to Alyssa and the Miller family, but Alyssa insisted it go toward Camp Ta-Kum-Ta," says Haddie Lary.

Lary is the Student Council President. She helped plan the Sea of Pink event, but this is much more personal for her. Haddie's sister had cancer and went to Camp Ta-Kum-Ta too.

"When other families helped my family it meant a lot. It showed people do care. So I just want to give the same to them because it's really rough," Lary says.

Alyssa played varsity soccer and lacrosse before she was diagnosed with cancer during her junior year. Friends say it has been tough not having her around, but they've done their best to let her know how much they care, including even dying their hair red.

Shovanna Bent is a close friend and has known Alyssa since the eighth grade.

"I think the hardest part has been not being with her friends, one of her recent treatments put her in isolation, so the hardest part is not to be able to see anyone bur her family," she says.

Technology has helped Alyssa keep up in school. Jamie Koehnlein is Alyssa's English teacher. She's one of a small group of teachers who are working with Alyssa.

"Through Skype, through email, through text and house calls, we've been able to get her through her junior year and first semester of senior year to where she is now," she says.

She says, this has made her a better teacher, even though she misses having Alyssa in class.

"The classroom is the ideal place for Alyssa. She elevates learning, not seeing her is heartbreaking, but this elevates my passion for teaching," she says.

Friday, Camp Ta-Kum-ta founder Ted Kessler talked with the students about the camp that has helped support Alyssa.

"I think it's just so great because we're not just supporting Alyssa, we're supporting the whole community of people who have been affected by cancer," Bent says.

A lesson about giving learned from one brave girl.

Alyssa is spending this weekend at Camp and she told us how happy she is to see everyone, especially since her hair is starting to grow back!

Randolph Union High School has raised $1,300 dollars for Camp Ta-Kum-Ta.

The school planned to have home games for basketball, gymnastics, wrestling a bowling Saturday to continue raising money in Alyssa's honor.

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