Poland school raises money for cancer-stricken family

By kalea hall



Fresh out of chemotherapy, Dan Ayres, 50, posed for a picture with his wife and two children in the North Elementary School lobby.

Ayres, who is undergoing chemotherapy for stage three rectal cancer, appears healthy, happy and thankful.

“It’s nice people came out of the woodwork to offer support for our family and make sure we are taken care of,” he said.

The Parent Teacher Organization at North united to raise funds for the Ayres family with an “Icing out Cancer” bake sale.

Stacks of brownies, cookies, cupcakes and more goodies brought the lunchroom alive as students lined up for a sweet treat with all of the proceeds going to the cause.

“I try to teach my own kids and the kids here to pay it forward, because you never know when it is going to happen to you,” said Lisa Weimer, PTO member.

Ayres was diagnosed with cancer in late August. The shock instantly took over for both Dan, and his wife, Kim. The Poland residents were certain cancer was not the correct diagnosis, since he had no family history and all of the tests the doctor ran came with positive feedback. But a colonoscopy said otherwise.

“It was like hitting a brick wall,” Kim Ayres said.

Now Ayres, who also recently lost his job, is going through chemotherapy and radiation five days a week for the next six weeks.

He will have surgery in February and then continue with the therapy.

He shed 40 pounds and he gets tired easily, but his biggest concern is to be able to take care of his family including his wife, two older sons, and 9-year-old Chance and 6-year-old Grace.

The Ayreses both agree the support the school community gave to the family has, without a doubt, helped them in their time of need.

“It’s been hard, but people’s help and friendships have helped us through it,” Ayres said.

Weimer knew the PTO had to do something to help the family when it heard of his diagnosis and job loss.

Last year, the PTO raised more than $1,000 with a bake sale and the members knew they could do it again.

“It’s a small project to help someone in a small way that will hopefully make a huge difference,” Weimer said. “We are small, but mighty. [North] is like a family.”

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