FES has Sweet Treat Walk honoring their fighting Angel

Students at Forest Elementary School enjoyed an afternoon of treats and fun during their annual Halloween Sweet Treat Walk last Friday. This year’s occasion had additional sugnifigance added to collecting and enjoying candy during school hours and celebrating Halloween. This year’s event honored FES third grader Angel Martinez who is battling Leukemia for the second time in the fight of his life. The school used the event to honor Angel in his fight and to offer support through fundraising to help the family offset some of the monetary costs incurred.

The festivities at FES were joyous and the children had more than 20 stops to collect goodies on their Sweet Treat Walk. Stops along the walk included Minnie Mouse, Forest Fire Department and Forest Police Department all with smiles on their faces and candy in hand for the taking. But during the event there was also an underlying sadness because classmate Angel was not present to partake in all the fun. Prior to starting the candy walk all students participated in a cancer walk for Angel by making one lap around the track while chanting, cheering and carrying signs all wishing him support in his fight. He was not able to physically be present, but thanks to technology Angel was able to join in and witness the support by video chat.

Angel has been battling Leukemia for much of his young life and as a result was not able to attend school with his classmates during his first and second grade years. Due to his aggressive cancer treatments he has spent a majority of his time at Blair Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson. However, during his fight against this disease he has been able to maintain his school work and remain on track with his classmates in the hopes he would get the opportunity to rejoin his friends in school. That time came earlier this year as his Leukemia went into full remission in April.

After his cancer went into remission Angel set his sights on the school year that was quickly approaching. He was able to finally join his third grade classmates when the first day of school came in early August. The school year was off to a great start and Angel was enjoying every second and making the memories he had been missing out on those previous two years.

“Even when dealing with everything he was able to keep up with his school work and was ready to start third grade,” FES teacher Monica Soto said. “Angel was out the entire time during his first and second grade but was so excited to start school this year,”

The first two months of the school year went by quickly and with continued cancer free checkups Angel was once again just enjoying being a kid. “Everything was going so well for him in school and he was so happy to be here with his friends every day,” Soto said. Unfortunately, his enjoyment would be short lived as his Leukemia reared its life threatening head again in October.

After being cancer free for six months, and finally getting back to just being a kid, Angel and his family got the news that his cancer was back. He would have to head back to Blair Batson again to under go another round of cancer treatment. Soto remembers hearing the news that Angel would have to face his cancer battle all over again.

“It was so sad to hear that he had to go back to the hospital and would have to leave school,” she said. “Everything had been going so good for him through Fall break.” At that point, Soto decided that even though Angel would not be in attendance when the school celebrated Halloween that she was going to make sure that he was included and moving forward he would have no doubt that he was being thought of and would not be forgotten.

With Soto leading the charge, and backed by FES administrators, the Sweet Treat Walk turned out to be a great event that gave all the children in attendance enjoyment, clearly showed Angel he is constantly thought of, and cheered on and raised money for his family to help with the costs of the full-time fight against Leukemia. During the event, and in the days afterwards, Soto and fellow teachers have been able to raise over $1,000, all of which will go directly to Angel’s family. This money will go help his family with any costs and needs associated with his ongoing cancer battle.

The current fundraiser for Angel will continue through today, but FES will accept donations for the foreseeable future, or at least until they can get Angel back to class where he belongs. The elementary students at FES have joined in the fight with Angel and if you would like to help by making donations you can contact Forest Elementary School for more information.