MAHTOMEDI, Minn. (FOX 9) - An east metro school community is rallying around several students touched by cancer.
The Mahtomedi High School Volleyball team hosted its "Spike Leukemia Night" on Wednesday, raising thousands of dollars on behalf of the young cancer patients. One of those students is Morgan Marx who plays for Zephyrs. The gym was painted orange for Mahtomedi’s matchup with North St. Paul. Orange is the color of support for this form of cancer that invades a patient’s blood cells.
"It was totally, the world flipped upside down," explained Marx, a Leukemia survivor first diagnosed at age 15. "It is something you never imagine would happen to you."
After a two-plus year medical odyssey, Marx is now in a maintenance phase with the disease and has returned to playing volleyball.
"Missing all the school sporting events, hanging out with your friends, you just miss out on so much. It really changes your perspective on life," Marx told FOX9’s Paul Blume.
Leukemia has struck the Washington County community particularly hard, Marx is one of three district students diagnosed in recent years.
"I feel like it is something I can help contribute to," said Silvie Graetzer, a Zephyrs team captain. "Obviously they are not alone on that journey. So, it can help me be a part of it with them."
In total, the school raised some $4,000 that will be donated to a pair of local cancer treatment centers. But perhaps the highlight of the night was junior varsity Volleyball coach Kelly Olson getting 10 inches of her hair cut off for a pediatric wig donation. Marx was given the honor and the scissors. Marx said it was extra meaningful because at one point during her own cancer treatments, she lost her hair.
"I have coached Morgan in softball and volleyball for the last three years and she is an amazing person who always has a smile on her face no matter what," said Olson, who also serves as the district-wide school resource officer in Mahtomedi. "Yeah, I have got goosebumps right now."