The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

March 16, 2013

Shakin’ it up to beat cancer

Student-led fundraiser aids teacher

By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer

HERMITAGE — Cindy Wombacker has been through a lot since she was diagnosed with cancer last summer, but she was feeling pretty good Friday when she did the bump with “Buzzy” the Hickory Hornet mascot at a fundraiser for her.

“This is so nice of them,” Wombacker said of the student-organized event to give her support and raise awareness of cancer. “It’s nice to see the kids doing something that wasn’t for themselves.”

Students sold tickets at $1 a pop for participation in a mass dance of the “Harlem Shake.” Students dressed up in masks, costumes and wigs, and some wore roller skates for the dance, which was recorded by middle school technology coordinator and integration coach Joe Kulbacki for posting on “YouTube.”

“This is wonderful,” said Wombacker, a kindergarten teacher who has been on leave while she fights the disease.

“We wanted to do something since Mr. Wombacker was telling us the expense of driving back and forth to Cleveland,” said senior Temarah Harrison, speaking of high school art teacher Carl Wombacker, Wombacker’s husband. “We thought it would be a good idea to raise money for her.”

Temarah, who had Cindy Wombacker in kindergarten, added that the fight against cancer touches home.

“My grandmother had cancer and passed,” she said. “I’ll do anything to help other families out.”

Students sold 242 tickets, but raised more dollars than that figure. Some donations, particularly from teachers, came in larger amounts, said senior Raja-Nee Baker.

Johnna Scheuermann came up with the idea for the fundraiser, picking the “Harlem Shake” because it’s popular, but said the event proved to be more popular than she expected.

“I really like it,” she said of the turnout. “I really didn’t think we’d get that much money.”

Principal Chris Gill called the event “fabulous.”

“It’s invaluable,” he said, noting the event was organized by students and benefits the community. “It’s a part of the education process.”

Wombacker was diagnosed over the summer with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and went through chemotherapy and radiation treatments. She was given a clean bill of health, but 2è weeks later she experienced numbness in her hand. Tests showed the cancer had spread to her brain.

She has just started a 28-week treatment program at the Cleveland Clinic in which she is treated four days a week every other week.

“It will be a long haul,” she said, but also exhibited a positive attitude.

“I will get through it fine,” she said.

She lauded the students for coming.

“Cancer touches everybody’s life at some time,” she said, either directly or with family members or friends. “Be aware of your own health and your family’s health and be supportive.”

She thanked the district for its support throughout the process, noting the football boosters knitted her a hat and the wrestling team, which is coached by her husband, has worn shirts that honored her.