HVE, community raising funds for child with leukemia


Photo Courtesy of Happy Valley Elementary School
A family photo shows Misty Oliver, center, from Elizabethton, with her daughters, Hannah Brooke, right, and Savannah, left. Hannah Oliver, 6, was recently diagnosed with leukemia.

By Julie Fann
star staff
jfann@starhq.com  

  Usually, it is not until hard times hit that people realize just how much those in their community care about them. Suddenly, even strangers may offer a helping hand until those suffering see better days.
  Such is the case for Elizabethtonian Misty Oliver and her two daughters, Hannah Brooke, 6, and Savannah, 3. On Sept. 23, Hannah Oliver, a kindergartner at Happy Valley Elementary School, was diagnosed with leukemia. The next day, Misty and her daughter flew to St. Jude's Children's Hospital in Memphis so that Savannah could begin immediate treatment over the next six months.
  Hannah's younger sister, Savannah, will be staying with her grandmother until her sister and mother return. The situation has been extremely taxing on the family emotionally and financially.
  "She's a single mother, so it's been really hard for her, as you can imagine," said Misty Williams, who is a member of the Parent Review Committee at Happy Valley Elementary School. "She (Misty Oliver) won't be able to work since she has to stay with Hannah."
  To raise money for Hannah's treatment and financial support for her mother while she stays with her, Happy Valley Elementary School parents and teachers have started a fund at Citizens Bank. The school will also hold a yard sale/bake sale at HVE Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. All proceeds will go to Hannah and her family.
  Williams said the school has already collected approximately $650 in donations for the Olivers. "It's been hard, but the school has been wonderful. The whole community has been wonderful," Williams said. Items for Saturday's yard and bake sale have also been pouring in since the community heard about Hannah.
  "We've been extremely busy pricing every piece and sorting and making posters," Williams said.
  Each year, approximately 3,250 children in the United States are diagnosed with leukemia, a form of cancer that begins in the blood-forming tissues of the bone marrow. In leukemia, the bone marrow makes an overabundance of diseased white cells that cannot perform their usual function of fighting infection, according to a Web site dedicated to parents of children with the disease.
   When the leukemic cells begin to fill the marrow, production of healthy red cells, platelets and white cells decreases. As the number of normal cells declines, symptoms appear. Low red cell counts cause fatigue and pale skin. Low platelet counts may result in bleeding and bruising. If mature white cells are crowded out, children have little or no defense against infection.
  Contributions to Hannah Oliver and her family may be sent to: Hannah Brooke Oliver Fund, c/o Citizens Bank, P.O. Box 1900, Elizabethton, TN 37644, Attention: Mrs. Lola C. Bowers.