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Classmate inspires students to stage carnival
pic isabella-1
From left, Stella Brockman School first-grade student Isabella Mays, who is receiving treatment for a brain tumor, hangs out with her friend, Emma Stolavik, at Friday’s all-school carnival / Trike-A-Thon benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT

Isabella Mays, a first-grade student at Stella Brockman School, has been receiving chemotherapy for the past 16 months to treat a brain tumor.

Included are visits to the University of California, San Francisco for treatment.

“I have my blood drawn and they give me pills so I can feel better,” said the 7-year-old daughter of Angelina and Jay Mays.

But it’s the youngster’s attitude that continues to impress those at the school and even family member.

“She’s been a real go-getter,” Principal Diane Medeiros said Friday at the carnival / Trike-A-Thon benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

In fact, it was Isabella’s idea to hold these fundraisers to help the largest childhood cancer research center in the world in terms of patients.

Since opening in 1962, St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and more than 70 countries. The hospital sees about 230 patients, on average, each day.

“I wanted to help other kids with tumors and bad cancers,” said Isabella Mays, who described the size of her own tumor as a “small one.”

According to Medeiros, her leadership students will look into various fundraising events to support a charitable cause, including last year’s donation to the American Cancer Society.

“Isabella saw a commercial on TV about St. Jude’s and wanted to help out (with a Trike-A-Thon),” said her mother, Angelina. “First, she talked about it over with her class and then she presented the idea to student council.

“They voted unanimously for it, incorporating the carnival to involve all of the students.”

The brain tumor was first detected in her daughter during a seemingly routine eye examination in kindergarten. The youngster missed most of that year in the school, suffering from side effects from her medication.

Isabella, who likely will be receiving treatment until she’s 10 – by then, she may be old enough to have surgery involving radiation to rid the cancer, according to her mother – but has been responding quite well to dosage of her current medication.

 The carnival, meanwhile, included games and activities such as a candy walk, craft corner, and face painting, to name a few.

The Trike-A-Thon was held in conjunction with the spaghetti feed benefiting the eighth-grade class. Proceeds from the latter will go towards purchasing caps and gowns for the year-end promotional event.

Marie Allie, whose son, Nathaniel Norman, is an eighth-grade student at the school, offered to help out with the spaghetti feed fundraiser, asking assistance from her brother Michael Norman, the dining service manager / chef at Merrill Gardens.

Michael Norman jumped at the chance to help him out Stella Brockman, donating the time and supplies.

He’s hoping that the event will help bridge the gap between the local retirement community and the school and segue into future endeavors.