MINFORD — Many may have seen people wearing the orange T-Shirts that Say, “Mighty Oaks” (Pray for Oaklynn) in the past few months, these shirts are in support of a sweet little girl, Oaklynn Keller, age 2.5 years, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in July and hers is a rare form of Leukemia that is resistant to chemotherapy. She had been in Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital most of the time until a few weeks ago when she entered a clinical trial of CAR-T cells at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
This strong little girl is what sparked the event ‘Volley for the Cure’ held at Minford Middle School this past Saturday during the Jr. High School Volleyball game between Minford and Valley. Lori Rolfe, Minford teacher and Jr. High Volleyball Coach, has held the event for many years now, did this one for Oaklynn because her mother Abby (Donahoe) Keller graduated from Minford and her father Luke Keller graduated from Valley.
Originally starting out, this event was held for a breast cancer patient in October, but through the years, sometimes it was for one of their own whose family was going through cancer of other types.
There is still money coming in says Rolfe, “I believe when it’s all done, we will have raised between $5,000 and $6,000.”
The event is usually held outside, but due to weather predictions, they moved it into the Cafeteria and hallway.
“It was nice and it was a nice turnout, we had lots of good baskets that were donated,” Rolfe said. “We had several of our donated baskets, that went for over $400.00.”
Rolfe said that because they played Valley in their game and with Oaklynn’s parents’ connection to the schools, they had donated items from people from Valley and Minford, so they had all those things to raffle off.
“What we ended up doing was like a silent auction for the highest bidders on the baskets and items,” Rolfe added that Valley’s National Honor Society donated their time to help out for this event.
“We had 21 vendors set up in the hallway and cafeteria-like T-shirts, make-up, jewelry, Pampered Chef, Scentsy, Thirty-One, Colored Street Nails, a couple of people had their homemade baked goods. Thanks to Denver Triggs who brought in his sound system for all the bands to use. We had a lot of bands this year, bands like Mikey Mike and The Big Unit, Cliff Ross & the Special Sauce band and Marissa Boza. We had vendors outside too the Raders had their corn dog and Lemon Shake-ups, Clarktown Pizza was setup plus we had a bouncy house donated to us from EMC2 Party Rentals and Inflatables.” (http://www.emc2partyrentals.com).
Rolfe did say that the turnout was good, but it may have hurt a little bit being inside because they weren’t out where people could see them. She said that there was a good turnout for the Volleyball game and that they played games plus a competition between Valley’s Superintendent (Scott Rolfe), his niece and a coach, who played Minford’s 7th-grade coach, her son and another coach, everyone got to bid on what team they thought would win. The Valley team won, and the Valley girls won the 7th and 8th-grade game.
On Luke’s Facebook page he had posted about the clinical trial Oaklynn is now in and stated that only 49 others are currently involved in.
“Through Oaklynn’s journey, I hope we raise awareness of childhood cancer. While we highlight the good moments; words can not describe how terrible cancer really is. Every day her and many others fight for their lives. We have to find a cure. Chemo isn’t working and we are praying Christ would be magnified! Please pray alongside of us for all fighting this fight!”
Keller is one of the pastors at The Cross Church and both he and Abbi have remained steadfast and faithful throughout Oaklynn’s illness and continually praise God and give Him all the glory.
This particular event was just one of the many wonderful ways schools and groups have been reaching out to help the Keller family during this time. Some of the things that have been going on are that the Wheelersburg and Valley football teams and fans had a group prayer after their game.
The Wheelersburg Cheerleaders did a dance and cheer just for Oaklynn and the Ironton Football Staff all wore Mighty Oaks T-Shirts to one of their games, Other groups held events, Waverly and Valley High School volleyball, Big Sandy, Notre Dame Schools had a Dress Down Day and wore orange for a dollar, Valley and Northwest Middle Soccer teams, Southern Axe Throwing of Portsmouth, Big Daddy’s Kitchen & Ladybug Greenhouse, Waverly Nutrition and Scioto Tech Practical Nursing Students.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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