TEUTOPOLIS, Ill. (WCIA) — A Teutopolis High School student has made it her mission over the years to inspire kids with cancer, all while suffering from the disease herself.
Elizabeth Weidner has had neuroblastoma for four years, but just last week she began treatments for new cancer spots on her spine. Students, friends, and even people who do not know her have been finding ways to support her.
Weidner is going to lose her hair from the new treatment, but so will some other people. It is to raise money for her family.
Nate Thompson issued a challenge on Facebook for students to shave their heads in support. He will donate $50 for male students, and $200 for female students.
“It means so much to us to have that support behind us,” says Elizabeth’s dad Matthew Weidner.
Her high school is also making t-shirts, with money raised going to her family. The shirts say, “In this town no one fights alone.”
“That’s kind of typical of our community,” says THS Athletic Director and Weidner’s Biology teacher Laurie Thompson. “We’re a close knit community. In the past we’ve had a lot of other things that have taken place that people just push, they get together, they band together, they help each other out. That’s just a characteristic of our community that makes us truly special.”
Nate Thompson says 70 people have shaved their heads so far, including three girls. He says they wanted a way to not only raise money, but make her feel better.
“This would be way better to get the whole community involved,” says Thompson. “See how many people are willing to participate in it and have Elizabeth come back and be able to see everyone with the shaved heads and kind of laugh with everybody about it. I thought that’d be fun.”
Weidner is also on the pomerettes team. Hundreds wore her shirts to their state qualifier last weekend. She has been out of state for treatments all week, so she has not been able to practice very much. She plans to make the trip with her team to the state finals anyways.
Her dad says the new treatments have been tough, but she is still fighting.
“She continues to amaze us at the things that she does,” says Matthew Weidner. “Very proud of her. She’s my hero.”
A shaved head auction is being held to raise even more money. Bidders can buy a volunteer’s hair to shave off. It takes place Feb. 16 at 2 p.m. at the Orchard Inn in Effingham.