Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

November 10, 2012

Students make a house call

Entire school visits sick classmate at her home

FLATWOODS —  When the long line of children snaked down Vallance Street to Emily Clark’s house, the 11-year-old was ready to meet them.

Sitting on a cushion on the front steps, Emily looked up at her mother as more than 300 kids gathered and waved her way.

It was the entire student body of Russell-McDowell Intermediate School, and they had walked the four blocks to Emily’s house to let her know that even though she is sick and hasn’t been in school this year, they are thinking about her.

Emily has a form of brain cancer and since it was diagnosed two years ago has undergone two surgeries, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Her mobility has been impaired and she does not walk now. The most recent procedure was in September, said her mother, Johnda Clark. “She is still all smiles, though, bless her heart,” Clark said. “Regardless of the pain, she doesn’t complain, ever.”

Although her daughter has put on a brave and cheerful face, Clark and Emily’s former teachers know there is much she misses about being well and still able to go to school.

At an age when children depend on being able to see their friends, Emily has remained homebound. The solution, teachers decided, was for the school to go to her.

Early Friday afternoon, every student at Russell-McDowell assembled on the playground and then, escorted by two police cruisers, hiked down the street to Emily’s house. They presented her some balloons and a fleecy blanket in green and purple, colors that symbolize the fight against brain cancer.

Emily didn’t have much to say when the kids headed back to school, but the smile on her face below her white crocheted cap showed her pleasure.

The reaction is typical of a child who has many friends but is shy and quiet, said Danielle Mason, who was Emily’s teacher the year she received her diagnosis. Mason remembers the other girls in class made it their mission to keep tabs on Emily, who was subject to occasional seizures. “They would stay with her on the playground and help her,” Mason said.

The school and the entire Russell district has rallied around Emily and her family, who have had major expenses taking her to Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati for treatment. On Friday, teacher Bridget Thomas showed an envelope thick with $600 in cash that had been raised that day for the family.

Future fundraisers include Dec. 8, which has been designated Emily Clark night at the Russell High School varsity basketball game. Supporters will wear green and purple and will sell T-shirts and bracelets to raise money.

Johnda Clark hopes the attention to her daughter’s plight will raise awareness of children with cancer. It was something she knew little about until she saw it for herself while in hospitals with Emily. “We didn’t know it was such a huge problem with kids. I had no clue,” she said.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.

Text Only
Local News
  • 0420mongol1.JPG A ride to remember

    Riding 50 miles a day is no big deal to Amy Whelan.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0418melodies.jpg Melodies & Masterpieces returns Friday

    Anyone strolling through downtown Ashland at lunchtime Friday will have a chance to enjoy the artistry of one of the area’s most-respected guitarists as Chris Kitchen kicks off the return of the Melodies & Masterpieces series on Judd Plaza.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0418odell.jpg MSU professor appointed state geographer

    Dr. Gary O’Dell, a professor of physical geography at Morehead State University, was named state geographer in January.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill to benefit AK Steel

    During the 11th hour of the General Assembly, a bill extending important sustainable incentives for AK Steel’s Ashland Works was pushed through for approval Tuesday night.
    House Bill 483 was created to extend the plant's incentives provided by the Kentucky Industrial Revitalization Act in 2004.

    April 16, 2014

  • Pathways begins autism services

    Pathways has extended its community outreach in a big way by providing services for families facing autism.
    Lena Harmon, central director for the company's Kentucky Impact Youth Council, said these services can save families the trouble of being added to long queue lines in Cincinnati and Louisville.
    Harmon said she has heard some families testify having to wait up to 12 months for appointments in faraway cities.

    April 16, 2014

  • Russell academic new dean at OUS

    Nicole Pennington chose a two-year community college degree track in 1991 because she wanted to enter the nursing work force with as little delay as possible.

    April 16, 2014

  • 1936 Indian lasting wedding gift

    When it came time to present his future wife with a symbol of his undying devotion, Virgil Erskine gave her a 1936 Indian motorcycle instead of a diamond ring.
    “I’ve always called it my wedding present. It’s my diamond ring,” said Charlene Erskine, explaining she and her husband were married at Sturgis, S.D., in 1983, found the antique Indian Sport Scout in 1984 and had it restored and on the road in 1985.

    April 16, 2014

  • Boyd Democrats take floor at Elks

    Boyd County Democrats met at the Elks Lodge for a matchup between candidates for two of the hottest primary races in Boyd County: sheriff and judge-executive.
    The candidates, sponsored by the Boyd County Democratic Women’s Club, each took to the podium to face the crowd Tuesday night and discuss the candidacy and platforms for the race that is still over a month away.

    April 15, 2014

  • Shay receives 38 years for fatal shooting

    Casey R. Shay, 27, of Morehead, was sentenced Monday to 38 years in prison for the fatal shooting last year of Cassandra M. “Cassie” Owens, 21.

    April 15, 2014

  • 0416homegarden.jpg Space not problem with home garden

    Growing your own dinner is not a concept lost on Kenny Imel.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone