School collects tabs to raise money for Ronald McDonald house in honor of young cancer survivor

ERICA RODRIGUEZ

May 12, 2010 at 12:12 a.m.
Updated May 13, 2010 at 12:13 a.m.

Jesse Vasquez, 3, helps load a gallon of pull tabs into a truck. The Methodist Day School collected 93 gallons of the tabs to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House in Houston and honor 10-year-old cancer survivor Jack Sanchez, of Rockport.

Jesse Vasquez, 3, helps load a gallon of pull tabs into a truck. The Methodist Day School collected 93 gallons of the tabs to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House in Houston and honor 10-year-old cancer survivor Jack Sanchez, of Rockport.

All year long the children of Methodist Day School prayed and collected aluminum pull tabs for 10-year-old Jack Sanchez, of Rockport.

Last August Jack was diagnosed with cancer and lived for eight months in the Ronald McDonald House at the Texas Medical Center in Houston.

After surgery and rounds of chemotherapy, their prayers for healing were answered - Jack is now cancer free.

"It's just amazing what these kids are doing," said Gabriele Sanchez, Jack's mother. "All those prayers are why he's right here."

Along with their prayers, the children collected 93 gallons of aluminum pull tabs for a recycling program that raises money for the Ronald McDonald House.

Jack and his family were honored Wednesday during a ceremony closing the fundraiser.

The 30-minute program was emotional.

"Overwhelming," Gabriele said, describing the ceremony. "I'm trying not to cry."

Jack was amazed at the amount of tabs presented.

"It's just crazy seeing how many tabs - each one are either a half gallon or gallon jug and filled to the top with tabs," he said. "That's just crazy."

The Ronald McDonald House on Holcombe Street in Houston hosts about 700 families a year from all over the world. The families stay at the home while their children undergo treatments at the Texas Medical Center.

"I met a lot of friends there," Jack said. "The reason I had to be there wasn't that great, but it was a good place. ... It wasn't like staying there just to get your shots and that's it. But it was fun also."

Ericca Letsinger, who brought the program to the school, began the fundraiser three years ago after visiting her brother and his family, while they stayed at the Ronald McDonald House. Letsinger's infant nephew Jacob had a heart transplant. He later died and Letsinger began the program locally in his memory.

This year the program was unique because they were able to present the tabs in honor of Jack.

"It's overwhelming because No. 1, he's cancer free today," she said. "When we started this he had just had his tumor removed. To see him here celebrating with his family is neat."


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