By Linda Lane
More than 450 people turned out for a spaghetti dinner fundraiser to support Schoolcraft High freshman Clayton Gerow and his family as he battles cancer. They’ve had to make repeated trips to Ann Arbor for chemotherapy that have become costly, in addition to high medical bills.
The spaghetti dinner was held Friday, March 25 in the Schoolcraft High School cafeteria. So many people showed up that organizers scrambled to set up additional tables and quickly clear them as people finished eating.
“We managed to raise over $10,000 for the Gerow family!” said Debbie Gillespie, who spearheaded the event. “The fundraiser totally exceeded our expectations. It showed what a great community Schoolcraft is.”
The event was supported by many Schoolcraft people, especially the Schoolcraft soccer teams on which Clayton played. At the spaghetti dinner, team members helped serve food and cleared tables. They had also worked in groups to raise money by performing services to local families such as raking yards, painting fences, mowing lawns and other chores for 2-4 hours for fundraising money.
Local folks also offered up items for a silent auction such as a Kalamazoo K-Wings’ signed hockey stick, puck and voucher. Three local photographers offered photo sittings for senior pictures or family pictures, a Big C gift certificate, Rock Restaurant gift certificate, Bronson Athletic membership, several paintings by local artist Kim Gates, and other individual gift baskets. For the dinner, Hardings donated spaghetti, individuals donated sauce, Jet’s Pizza donated paper products, Olive Garden donated bread sticks and community members donated desserts.
Gillespie had lots of people working at the event, especially Ellie Kelecava, Scott Fitzsimmons, and Brian Ladd who pitched in to help.
While Clayton has already had four chemo treatments, he might need two more. He needed several chemo treatments to shrink one tumor found. If surgery did not remove all signs of cancer, doctors will have him travel back to Ann Arbor for two additional chemo rounds. Clayton and his family had just returned from treatments in Ann Arbor as a surprise for the party. He hopes to play soccer again this fall with the Schoolcraft soccer team.
Those who are interested in helping the Gerow family can still donate by mailing a check to: Cards for Clayton, 2460 S Sprinkle Road, Kalamazoo MI 49001. Cards will be delivered to the Gerows unopened.
The Gerow family would like to extend a huge heartfelt thank you to everyone that has supported them through their journey. “We could not have made it through this without each and every one of our friends,” Deana Gerow said.