Updated: June 15, 2013 6:35AM
Time Magazine’s cover this week focuses on the “Me Me Me Generation” of today’s kids, calling them “Millennials” and describing them as “lazy, entitled narcissists.”
After seeing the effort of Kankakee Valley High School’s collective student population on Friday afternoon, I disagree and think there’s still hope for this generation to lead us confidently into the future.
Two days before Mother’s Day, the enrollment of about 1,050 came together for one hour to raise money for one mother who’s family has gone through so much in the last few years.
A couple weeks earlier, Diane Cavinder underwent pancreatic cancer surgery. The petite mom of KV softball player Morgan Cavinder is now even more petite and frail after part of her insides.
“They took my pancreas,” Diane said. “It’s hard to eat — I take pills to help break food down.”
But that pancreas was put to good use as it was spliced into hundreds of pieces, each sent to different research labs to analyze the rare form of pancreatic cancer Diane was diagnosed with.
“If I can help one person, then it’s worth it,” she said. “I’m all in.”
Being all in will include going through radiation treatment down the road.
In the meantime, Diane has the support of the whole Kankakee Valley school community. That was proven on Friday when the “Walk for Mrs. Cavinder” took place during the last period of the school day.
Purple balloons (that’s the color representing pancreatic cancer) were donated by the local Walgreens, and several signs hung on the fence of Fred Jones Field. My favorite was “Cancer Sucks … There is hope,” which illustrates the matter-of-fact attitude of the “Me Generation.”
“I love all the signs,” Diane said. “They made me cry.”
She was covered up with multiple blankets on the blustery day while numerous boys and girls paused from the 45-minute walk around the track to send their love to Mrs. Cavinder. One of them was junior Andrew Jackson, who asked, “Mrs. Cavinder ... can I give you a hug?”
The walk was organized simply: Any student could get out of the last period for a $5 donation. Those who didn’t had to sit in the gym until the walk was done. But who wouldn’t want to get outside for a great cause for just $5?
“I told my kids in class that if it was a matter of money, tell me and I would take care of it,” said KV English teacher Hallie Chicki, who has Morgan Cavinder in one of her classes.
There were also purple T-shirts being sold for $10 each with a simple message on the front: Hope, Love, Cure … Team Diane … “No one fights alone.”
That was also the message on the electronic board in front of the school: “No one fights alone Mrs. Cavinder. We walk for you today. WE ARE ONE.”
More than $5,600 was raised as of Friday afternoon and more money was coming in. Hopefully, it keeps coming in for the family that has been through so much adversity.
About three years ago Morgan’s sister Taylor was killed in a drunk driving accident that rocked Wheatfield and DeMotte. I still remember being at softball games in the week following the accident, and there were few smiles and plenty of tears. Now, in the midst of a new challenge, Diane and Morgan keep smiling while getting hugs from faculty and students who showed no signs of being part of the “Me Generation.”
It helps to have a close-knit community behind you and KV has stepped up once again in displaying generosity and an unselfish attitude.