ALTAMONT — When teachers and staff at Altamont Lutheran Interparish School found out about kindergartner Abbey Franzen’s health issues, plans to help were immediately started.
”It’s just unbelievable,” said Principal Gail Traub. “Everybody was going to help. We thought, ‘OK, this is what God has called us to do and that’s what we’re going to do.’”
Franzen was diagnosed with Fanconi Anemia in the spring, a genetic disorder that results in bone marrow failure which can cause birth defects and longstanding effects on a person’s health. Her father, Daryn Franzen said the first hospital trips were initiated when Abbey was taking a long time to recover from a fever earlier this year.
”I think the most important thing is that before all this happened, we were just like everybody else,” he said. “You’d have the conversations every day about bills or whatever and now it’s about what the doctors say or what we’re waiting on or how Abbey’s doing. Everything we say and do is about Abbey now.”
Those changes in the family’s life immediately had an impact on Abbey’s life at school and staff took notice. Franzen’s teacher, Jana Deadmond, said she worked with other teachers and the school’s student council to find a way to get involved and help offset the high medical costs for treatment.
”We weren’t aware of Abbey’s condition until after the first of the year,” she said. “Her parents came forward and said that they were going through this, and they had gone through their insurance and knew about what the cost would be. We did a lot of brainstorming and tried to come up with any way that we could help.”
Students rallied behind the cause. Each individual grade at the school collected quarters to build a paper-link chain for Franzen, with each quarter representing a link. The fundraiser brought in $2,000 for the treatment. Other fundraisers, such as a paper airplane contest and donations from the school’s annual musical added more money.