ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. - Hunter Elementary School is taking steps to bring more awareness to cystic fibrosis by hosting a benefit walk-a-thon this Friday May 9th. A walk in memory of sixth grader, 13-year-old Bethany Holder who passed away in March from complications of the disease.
"I was Bethany's second grade teacher," said Amy Grubb. "I loved her so much."
"Her smile would light up the hallways," Teacher Amanda Barnett added. "She was just a shining light and she is greatly missed here at Hunter."
The walk-a-thon is also in honor of three other students at Hunter who've been diagnosed with CF including first grader Devin Wellman who tells us he deals with the disease every day of his young life.
"Some kids at school have what I have," he said. "It's really scary."
One teacher at Hunter lost three brothers to cystic fibrosis and another teacher's aide has a son who suffers from it. Medical experts tell the school that the disease is a strictly genetic disorder.
"It is something that they are born with," Grubb said. "It is not contagious."
So the high impact at Hunter is just a tragic, ironic coincidence.
"There's 267 cases in Tennessee," Barnett said. "So for four of them to be at our school and then one at a neighboring school and for our school to be so affected by it, it is very rare."
One hundred percent of the walk-a-thon proceeds will go to the cystic fibrosis foundation. Bethany's mother Patty tells us Bethany is surely looking down on all this and smiling. A cheerleader in the strides to find a cure.
"I think there was a plan," Patty Holder said. "God had a plan. I know Bethany's in Heaven cheering us on and telling us to go get 'em so that makes me go from day to day."
The walk-a-thon will be Friday May 9th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Hunter Elementary School just off of state highway 91 in the Hunter community of Carter County.