Knoxville — The students, faculty and staff of West Elementary have once again opened their hearts and piggy banks. In the month of March, West Elementary raised $1,838.55 for Penelope Davis, a toddler stricken with cancer.
Penelope is the granddaughter of Brian Davis, janitor at West who has been employed by the Knoxville School District for 27 years. His son, Ben, and daughter-in-law, Shannon, noticed that there was something wrong with Penelope when the child was 11 months old.
She was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma, a cancer that causes blindness, the second week of June. Penelope is blind, due to a tumor behind her eye. Doctors have found numerous other tumors inside her body. She has undergone chemotherapy, and she is scheduled for at least one more round.
Several tumors are expected to be surgically removed soon. Brian said the chemotherapy treatments have successfully reduced the size of the tumors.
"I just ask people to pray for her," Brian said. He is thankful for the donations, support and prayers everyone has given his family. He added that he never sought the money or assistance, but is grateful that Elaine Galeazzi, a teacher at West, took the initiative to start the fund raiser.
"I didn't ask for anything like that," Brian said.
Finding out about his granddaughter was a shock, he added. The school's fundraising efforts, and the occasional child coming up and asking him how Penelope is doing, have truly warmed his heart.
Ben is a Twin Cedars alumnus. He and Shannon also two other children, one of whom suffers from cystic fibrosis. The family lives in Des Moines.
If you would like to help Penelope and her family, visit http://www.youtube.com/embed/gZtxDqt9-8Y. Brian added that he feels terrible that his granddaughter is going through such a horrible experience.
"Hopefully, it's something she won't remember," Brian said of Penelope and her fight against cancer.