MADISON COUNTY, Ga. - Students at an elementary school in Madison County have rallied together to support a classmate who is being treated for leukemia. Jennifer Martin is in the second grade at Colbert Elementary School.
Ashley Mullins, a teacher there, organized a fundraiser that started in early November to help Jennifer's family pay her medical bills. Students brought in a quarter or more to buy a link in a "Chain of Hope". Each grade level has its own chain, and each chain is hanging from ceilings in hallways throughout the school.
"They're my chains of hope," Jennifer told Good Day Atlanta's Kaitlyn Pratt. The paper chains show the connection between Jennifer, who has been too sick fighting leukemia to attend school, and her classmates.
In two weeks, organizers collected more than $5,000 in contributions from students and local businesses that matched those contributions.
Last week, hundreds of students gathered in the school's gym to show their support for Jennifer and celebrate the second grader's courageous attitude during a special "Cougar Pride" assembly. School officials presented a check for $5,459.69 to Jennifer and her family. The kindergarten class raised the most money and as a reward for their generosity, they will earn extra recess time.
"This is awesome," said Jennifer. "It makes me feel nice."
"She's taught us all lessons that really can't be taught," said teacher Lisa Hancock, who tutors the 8-year-old. "My heart just goes out to these kids who have shown all this love."
Jennifer said this Thanksgiving she's thankful for her family, her animals and everyone that who cares about her.