Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

White Oak raises money for Joey’s Toy Box

by Celia Shortt


White Oak Elementary is a key partner for the local non-profit Joey’s Toy Box. New principal Andrew Clarke was eager to continue working with the organization. He is pictured here, on left, with the two teachers who are the main organizers for their work with the organization. Jamie Dettmering, second from right, is a kindergarten teacher at White Oak, and Gabe Wilcox is a third-grade teacher. 

Joey’s Toy Box is partnering with White Oak Elementary to raise money in Sept. for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Teachers can pay $5 each for a jeans voucher(s), allowing them to wear jeans on certain dates in September. Close to 35 teachers have participated already, and the school has raised close to $800. Those teachers who have participated received a wreath on their classroom doors from Kim Doolittle. Kim is Joey’s mom and the founder of Joey’s Toy Box.

“It’s an incredible school to be a part of,” she said. “It’s honor that they’ve continued Joey’s story as they have.

Kim’s son Joey was diagnosed with cancer when he was three months old. He bravely fought his cancer through chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and a joyful spirit for the next nine years until he passed away on July 4, 2008.

During those nine years, he was also a student at White Oak. His joyful spirit and desire to help others impacted the students and teachers at the school.

“It was just a joy,” said Jamie Dettmering a kindergarten teacher at White Oak who had him as a student. “You would never have known he was a sick little boy. He always wanted to make kids laugh and would try things the others were doing.”

After Joey expressed the desire to raise money for toys to give to other children going through cancer or another type of illness, White Oak joined him. Former principal Cheryl Sandborn had White Oak involved with various fundraisers for Joey’s Toy Box and created the Joey’s Toy Box Award.

New principal Andrew Clarke was quick to continue the school’s support.

“This is something our staff does to continue Joey’s spirit at White Oak,” he said. “I have had two daughters who have gone through White Oak. My daughter Robin won the Joey’s Toy Box Award. I want to continue to support them in this school.”

Gabe Wilcox, a third grade teacher at White Oak and one of Joey’s teachers is thankful that Joey’s legacy and dream of helping children is continuing.

Joey’s Toy Box is a local non-profit organization whose mission is to provide comfort and support to children and families engaged in the battle against childhood cancer and other serious life-threatening conditions.

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