PDT Staff Writer
RUSSELL, Ky. — When Anne Sparks received a bouquet of roses and $2,700 from five seniors at Russell Independent High Schoo,l she realized just how much the students and staff care for her.
Sparks, attendance clerk at Russell Independent High School, was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
“I was on vacation in October. I came back, and I did not feel well, so I went to the emergency room. That is when I got my diagnosis,” Sparks said.
Sparks said she has to undergo a series of chemotherapy treatments as well as surgery.
“I have stage-three ovarian cancer. I had my fourth chemo treatment yesterday. I’ll have surgery in about six weeks, and then I’ll have four chemos after that,” she said.
Sparks said she missed two weeks of work shortly after her diagnosis.
“While I was off, the faculty and staff here had t-shirts made with ribbons with my name on them and the Russell employees sold them as a fundraiser for me,” Sparks said.
Five seniors at Russell Independent — Max Addington, Trevor Rigsby, Ian Fried, Joe Van Deren, and Patrick Soucy — put together a Christmas dance fund raiser on her behalf.
“These five senior boys who have hearts of gold decided that the students needed to do something,” she said.
The students rented the ballroom at the Bellefonte Pavillion at Bellefonte Hospital.
“From what I have been told, I didn’t know it at the time, the placed flyers on the cars of the students here at the high school, telling them about it,” she said.
An admission fee was charged to each student that came to the dance. The five senior students presented the bouquet of roses and $2,700, the proceeds raised from the dance to Sparks on Wednesday.
“This was huge, just because it was from the kids, and that just meant everything to me. The work that they put in to organize an event like that was really something. It was a big event, and they organized it all themselves.”
She said more than 150 students attended the Christmas dance in her honor.
Sparks is the wife of Tom Sparks of 24 years. They have one 23-year-old daughter, a 21-year-old son, and an 18-year-old son. She said she also has a one year old granddaughter. After her surgery, she plans to come back to Russell Independent and resume her work as attendance clerk. She has held that position since 2007.
Sparks said she is very grateful for all of the support that she has received from the students and staff at Russell Independent High School.
“It’s just amazing. You just don’t realize how much people are willing to do for you until you are in the situation. It is wonderful, and I appreciate everything that everyone has done for me during this time,” she said.
Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Portia on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.