By Anne Marie Amacher
BETTENDORF — When a beloved eighth-grade homeroom teacher at Lourdes Catholic School was diagnosed with brain cancer, the students decided to focus their energies on raising funds to offset her medical expenses.
Principal Katie Selden said that eighth-grade homeroom teacher Colleen Gordon, who also teaches sixth-, seventh- and eight-grade science, was recently diagnosed with brain cancer. When the students learned of her diagnosis, they wanted to do something for her.
The students organized several events as an extension of the Junior Achievement Finance Park and 21st Century Skills of Iowa Core Curriculum programs, Selden said.
The other eighth-grade homeroom teacher, Marcia Walsh, has been leading the students in planning the fundraisers. “Our project actually branched off of our JA Finance Park curriculum. We had finished the required work for Finance Park, and I was looking for something finance-related. Since I teach Mrs. Gordon’s homeroom for Finance Park, I thought that planning a fundraiser would be a perfect fit.”
Walsh invited Mike Ross and Marci Zogg, who help plan United Way fundraisers, to talk with the students. “They gave us some great suggestions on fundraising ideas and planning tips.”
The following day the students brainstormed lots of ideas and came up with a “G is for Gordon” fundraising theme. These events are planned to help Gordon with her medical expenses:
“Get Your Game On” for Gordon is a 3 vs. 3 basketball tournament for middle school students scheduled for April 29 from 4-9 p.m. in the Lourdes gym. Entry fee is $15 per team.
“Get Going” for Gordon is a school-wide walk-a-thon scheduled during recess May 13, the day before the school’s community-wide fundraiser. Students are encouraged to recruit family and friends as sponsors. Students are invited to dress in blue, which is Gordon’s favorite color. Checks may be made to the Colleen Gordon Benefit Fund.
“Get Together” for Gordon is a community-wide fundraiser with a benefit lunch May 14 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Lourdes gym. Also available are “Goodies” for Gordon (an eighth-grade bake sale) and “Gardens” for Gordon (plant sale).
“Garage Sale” for Gordon. Reserve a space at the Family Museum in Bettendorf to sell items on May 21 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. Cost is $10 for each market space. Register by calling Julie at (563) 344-4170 and donate profits to “Colleen Gordon Benefit Fund.”
“Greeting Cards” for Gordon: Greeting cards created by Stamping Up demonstrator Cheryl Blaum or students under her guidance will be sold after Masses at Our Lady of Lourdes.
The school is also praying for Gordon. “That’s what’s wonderful about Catholic schools. We can pray for her together,” Selden said.
Gordon has started treatments for cancer and is on medical leave, Selden noted. “We see her occasionally, and she is staying upbeat,” Walsh said. “Seeing her stay optimistic helps us stay optimistic. We pray for Mrs. Gordon every day, so that helps too.”
Planning fundraisers also is meaningful, Walsh added, “because it feels like we are doing something to help her as she fights to overcome this illness. We are excited to be able to help her pay her health-related expenses.”