Crandall community supports middle school classmates fighting cancer




Posted on October 10, 2013 at 11:05 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 10 at 11:33 PM

CRANDALL -- The population is about 3,000. There is one middle school and one high school.

Crandall is a small community with a big heart, waging a war.

Elizabeth "BeBe" Dodd is an eighth grader with Hodgkins Lymphoma. Her perspective is remarkably mature.

"She said to me, 'When I survive this, I'll just look back and say I survived it,' and I thought, 'Wow! That's a lot of strength!'" said her mother, Amy Trull.

Bebe said lymphoma isn't that big of a deal to her.

"Everyone's like, 'I can't believe you're going through this!' And I'm like, 'I just have to go through it,'" she said. "I don't really have a bad day. I just kind of go with it."

At the same school, seventh grader Blaine Thomas has brain cancer.

"It started at kind of the same time, so when I went to school and told them, they now had two children on homebound with cancer, in this little town, which is just unbelievable," Trull said. "I've spoken with his parents at length."

Thursday night was one of dozens of fundraisers friends and Crandall schools have put together to raise money for both familes.

On this night, it was a benefit concert at the Crandall Cotton Gin, one of the biggest restaurants in the Kaufman County town. High school bands played for their middle school friends. People bought raffle tickets and crafts, and made donations.

"When we pulled up I was like, 'Are all these people here for this?'" Bebe said.

Blaine couldn't make it to the benefit, but there have been others for him.

The middle school has sold bracelets and T-shirts, and "links of love," which is a chain they hope is long enough to wrap around the track at a pep rally in late October. Middle School cheerleaders are also hosting a 5k and one-mile Fun Run Nov. 16. Proceeds will all go to Bebe and Blaine's medical bills.

Some of Trull's friends organized the concert Thursday night.

"I mean, she's such a sweet little girl -- we love her to pieces," Rhonda Saulter said of Bebe.

"We go through life and we lose hope in people being good," Cheree Daniels said. "And then you get involved in something like this, and it gives you chills to think about the goodness of people and how kind and loving they are."

Trull knows it's true. She sees it and feels it.

"One of the teachers here, his wife had breast cancer last year, and he said to me that had it not been for this community, they would've had to move in with their parents," she said. "This is an amazing place to be."