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Community rallies for sick student

Students, 4-H'ers, and other members of the Climax community are raising money for a Climax-Shelly eighth-grader with a rare disease.

Cherith Grove was recently diagnosed with lymphangiomatosis, or LYMF. It's non-cancerous, but causes tumors or cysts in various organs, according to the Lymphangiomatosis Foundation. It has many symptoms and is hard to diagnose.

Cherith was treated for walking pneumonia in October, but by Dec. 29 she had trouble breathing and was admitted to Merit Care Children's Hospital in Fargo. Her condition worsened and she was flown to Minneapolis Children's Hospital on Jan. 4, where she was hooked up to tubes that drain fluids from her lungs, feed her and help her breathe.

The family got the diagnosis of LYMF on Monday.

"They're still trying to absorb all this and learn as much as they possibly can about the disease," said Rose Ulseth, Cherith's aunt. "It is a very rare disease that affects the lymph system and the vessels. The doctors haven't been able to give a prognosis this early in the diagnosis, but they're treating the symptoms and she's been responding well."

The Climax-Fisher Flyers 4-H Club and Climax Music Boosters are sponsoring a fundraiser supper on Friday at the girls and boys double-header basketball games against Ada-Borup at Climax School. Between games and at halftime, the Flyers will also have a pie auction.

The 4-H club also created buttons with Cherith's basketball number, 33, and her picture. The buttons are selling for a minimum donation of $10.

"They ordered 200 buttons initially, and they've been selling really well," said Jill Carlson, whose daughter Claire is a good friend of Cherith's. "They'll probably have to get more soon."

Ye Ole Print Shoppe donated printing for the buttons, while volunteers assembled them and donated supplies. The buttons have been making their way from Climax and Fisher schools to Crookston schools and to other states, thanks to Cherith's relatives and others.

All proceeds are put in the Cherith Grove Fund at Agassiz Federal Credit Union. The fund can also take direct donations.

Cherith's parents have been with her in the hospital. Her recovery could take some time.

"She is really just the sweetest girl," said Carlson. "Everybody who knows her or has met her just loves her. My daughter looks at Cherith's empty desk every day and it makes her sad, but has positive thoughts that she'll soon be back in school. We're all rooting for her want her to know we love and miss her."