Friday, April 26, 2013
Anyone on the campus of Georgetown Middle School on Wednesday may have thought there was a new Clemson-oriented dress code in place.
The sea of orange that invaded the school had nothing to do with the Tigers but rather it was a show of love and support for one of their classmates who was diagnosed with leukemia last week.
Hundreds of GMS students wore orange shirts and bracelets in honor of Andrew Childers, a seventh-grader who found out last week he has the disease.
It started on Thursday when he had a high fever, so he was taken to the hospital by his parents.
Doctors in Georgetown, realizing what was believed to the source of the problem, had Andrew transferred to the Medical University of South Carolina where treatment began on Friday.
He underwent two blood transfusions over the weekend and chemotherapy began on Monday, according to his father, Rodney Childers.
As Andrew’s family and friends kept the hallways at MUSC quite busy after his admittance, his sister, 13-year-old Brittany Eubanks, was speaking with her youth pastor from Screven Baptist Church.
She wanted to do something to show support for her brother.
At first, it was going to simply be to ask people to wear orange to church on Sunday but then she got the idea to try for something bigger.
There are stories all the time about children and teenagers using social media in bad ways. Brittany decided to use her Facebook page as a positive.
She said she created a “Wear Orange on Wednesday” event Facebook page asking her friends to wear orange to school Wednesday as a show of support for Andrew.
The message went viral locally and the support could be seen not only at GMS, but also some students at Georgetown High and Waccamnaw High were participating.
Eubanks said she still has a lot of friends and family in Georgia and they were also taking part.
She said she is very grateful for everyone who participated.
Many of her friends are South Carolina Gamecock fans who put the sports rivalry aside for the day.
Sybil Hall, the school’s seventh-grade administrator, said seeing how many students participated — and the fact it was spearheaded by students — was “very uplifting.”
“A lot of kids this age are touched by people with cancer,” Hall said. “Seeing all this hope, caring and camaraderie is touching.”
Jeremy Bonser, Andrew’s homeroom teacher, describes him as “a bright spot in the class.”
He said before last week he would talk with Andrew nearly every day about something in life.
“The news really put a damper on the end of the week. I know all the support the students here are giving him will mean a lot to him,” Bonser said.
Rodney Childers said he and his wife, Kathy, been overwhelmed by the support the family has received.
“I think what everyone has done on Facebook is wonderful. I can't believe how the town has come together for all the support for Drew,” he said. “He is a wonderful son and now he knows how much we and people all around love him.”
Childers said his son “is ready to fight so he can get back on the ball field and do all the things he loves to do like hunting and fishing.”
By Scott Harper