For a senior project, a student from North Central Academy put together several fundraisers to help a fellow student with lupus.
Friday was National Lupus Awareness Day. Melissa Rhoads organized a spaghetti luncheon to help raise money for Shyleigh Retcher and her family. Shyleigh, of Fremont, was diagnosed with lupus at age 9 and has had to make frequent trips to the hospital and many medical appointments.
"I saw that no one was doing anything for Shyleigh and I wanted to help as much as I can," Rhoads said.
Rhoads said donation jars have been placed at the front desks of NCA and the North Central Ohio Education Service Center. Also, every Friday, students are allowed to wear a hat if they donate a dollar.
"So far, we have raised $179 through the jars and hat days," Rhoads said. "This experience has been amazing. I hope that I can inspire others to do the same."
Shyleigh has 35 percent use of one of her kidneys. Due to her condition, she will not be placed on a transplant list, but she has been out of the hospital and is receiving dialysis.
"I can't believe that these students are doing this," said Darla Retcher, Shyleigh's mother. "They could have done anything they wanted for their senior project, and they chose her. We are very grateful."
Friday was Shyleigh's first day back to school since January, NCA Director Matt Wolph said.
"It's my first day back. I am excited to see everyone," Shyleigh said.
The food for the lunch had been donated by students, their families and members of the NCA staff, Wolph said.
More than 100 people attended the luncheon Friday and raised more than $900 for Shyleigh and her family.