For the past 12 years or so, Paddock Lane Elementary has been walking the track at Beatrice High School’s House of Orange to raise money for the American Diabetes Association. This year, they had something a bit more local in mind.
On Monday, Paddock Lane students celebrated a successful fundraiser that raised just over $5,000 for 16-year-old Shelby Erb, one of the school’s former students, with a day out in the sun.
Erb, who is fighting against late-stage cancer and lost her leg to the disease, has been on hospice care for a couple of months now. Originally, Shelby’s mother Linda Erb was supposed to be on hand to accept a check on her daughter’s behalf, but Shelby herself was able to make it to the event.
“It really is hard,” Erb said. “I'm on hospice, so I have nurses coming in and out, so I don't get to leave my house a lot. It's hard to get comfortable and move around, so I just try to get out the best I can.”
She was in a wheelchair, but Erb was able to stand to hug some of her former teachers and principal Betty Replogle.
Following the check presentation, students and faculty started chanting “Shelby, Shelby, Shelby” as she was wheeled through the crowd, back to the parking lot.
The whole school had worked hard to raise money for Erb’s family. Staff sold candy bars for $1 each, the school raffled off two huge baskets full of summery items and they were able to get sponsorships from local businesses like Sunrise Bakery, the North Sixth Street Dairy Queen and Uhl’s Sporting Goods.
“The teachers were allowed to wear jeans any day of the week for the last four weeks for $5 a day,” Replogle said. “That was huge. Everybody loves to do that.”
To celebrate the hard work, students took to the field for four hours on Friday, running through obstacle courses, playing Duck, Duck, Goose and tug of war in the 80-degree weather.
In addition to the fun and games, there’s always someone walking the track, Replogle said. It’s to help them remember their whole purpose of being there, she said.
“It makes me feel great and appreciated,” Erb said. “Like they remember me.”