PCHS shows support for fellow student at Colbert Heights
By Nicole Burns
For the FCT
PCHS students united recently in a big way to support another student with a terminal illness – but it wasn’t even a student at their school.
Colbert Heights High School students said goodbye to 13-year-old Danielle Denton this month after the eighth grader lost her battle to cystic fibrosis. Family and friends poured out support on Danielle’s Facebook page after learning of her passing Sept. 10. The page, “Prayers for Danielle Denton,” has more than 1,500 members. People across the area showed their support of the family’s fight against cystic fibrosis by wearing purple, the color used to bring awareness of the disease.
Phil Campbell High School student Karley Welborn knows how much that kind of support meant to her during her battle with Burkitt’s Lymphoma last year. Welborn and several students approached the PCHS cheerleader sponsors to change the school’s spirit focus Sept. 11 to remember Danielle and her fight. The cheerleaders developed a plan to ask the student body to wear purple for a group picture at Friday’s pep rally.
“I thought it would be great to do that since Colbert Heights did so much for me when I was in Memphis. I think the support of other schools just really helps,” said Welborn. “We have been very blessed with kindness when Karley was sick,” said PCHS varsity cheerleader sponsor Theresa Garrard. “It just goes to show that a small thing you can do can reach so many. We didn’t do much at all, but it goes miles when someone is hurting – just to know someone is thinking about you and praying for you.”
The PCHS student body took a moment of silence during the afternoon pep rally before squeezing in for a picture. Students held a sign stating that the Denton family and the Colbert Heights community were in their thoughts and prayers. The picture was posted on the PCHS Facebook page Friday afternoon. By Monday morning, the picture had been shared 365 times on Facebook, reaching an estimated 32,000 people, according to Facebook. Colbert Heights parents and students left notes of appreciation to the student body.
Welborn said, “I think that’s awesome. Things can get out so quickly on Facebook. I hope (Denton’s) family got to see that we support them.”