FONDA — The Fonda-Fultonville school community has been showing their support and raising money for a longtime teacher at the school who’s son has cancer.
According to a release on the district’s website, English teacher, Ashlee Palandro had to endure her son, Mac Palandro’s, fight to overcome brain cancer.
The Fonda-Fultonville school community is doing everything it can to show the Palandro’s that they are not alone. Staff members and students are supporting Palandro’s family by organizing collection drives, fundraising and homemade cards.
“It can be lonely having a child with cancer, because you’re the only one who’s going through it,” Palandro said in the release. “To have the love and support of this community helps so much. The illness doesn’t take over as much as it normally would because we have a wonderful community that is here for us.”
Before Mac Palandro turned five years old in June, he began showing unusual symptoms and when he started getting headaches, his pediatrician became concerned and ordered an MRI, according to the release.
It was discovered that Mac Palandro had a brain tumor and was scheduled for an emergency surgery at Albany Medical Center.
He was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a fast growing but treatable type of brain cancer that predominantly affects children.
Palandro said the surgery was successful in removing the entire tumor, and Mac Palandro’s spinal fluid showed no signs of cancer when tested. However, he is continuing to seek treatments at Boston for chemotherapy. His treatments will not be completed until August 2019.
“Mac is such a champ,” Palandro said in the release, “He doesn’t have hair, but he’s a regular little kid. He’s almost back to his pre-surgery weight. He runs around and plays with his little sister. He had hair, you wouldn’t know he was sick. We take it day by day.”
Through this difficult experience, the Palandro family has been heavily supported by family, their church and the Fonda-Fultonville school community.
According to the release, Palandro said she was visited by a co-worker at the hospital the day after her son’s surgery. Her co-worker gave her an envelope full of money that she had collected over two days to help cover food, gas and expenses. Other teachers delivered boxes of handmade cards by their students. Another co-worker stopped and delivered money that was raised by Student Government from a hat day.
The Yellow Roses club for girls baked and packaged Macaroons for Mac and sold them during lunch along with selling gold ribbons for the Palandro family and to show support for Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month.
“It feels great to know we’re helping someone who really needs it,” said Sydney Jones, high school junior. “It’s fun for us to make and create something and even better to know our enjoyment is helping someone.”
Co-workers have also been helping Palandro with grading, implementing lesson plans and ensuring her classroom runs smoothly in her absence. Administration also gave her the peace of mind to know she could put her son first.
People have really reached out and surrounded us,” Palandro said. “It’s been beautifully overwhelming to see how people wanted to help so badly. I’ll never be able to pay back everything that has been done for us, so I look for ways to pay it forward.”