District helps student who was diagnosed with leukemia

ANGOLA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Students at Lake Shore High School came together to help a fellow student fighting cancer.

Caitlin Burbige of Irving was diagnosed with leukemia in February. She says she knew leading up to mid-terms that something wasn’t right.

“I was having really bad stomach pains.”

When the 15-year-old heard the doctor tell her she had cancer, she didn’t know what to think. “I thought they were lying,” she said.

Unfortunately, they weren’t.

In September, Caitlin had a bone marrow transplant that weakened her immune system. As a result, she can’t drink the well water or even use it to brush her teeth.

When students at her Lake Shore High School found out, they wanted to help.

“She’s so sweet and nice to everybody. She always has a smile on her face. If something’s wrong, she’s always there for you. So I just wanted to give back to her,” Laura Esposito, Caitlin’s classmate said.

Right away her class officers banded together. They made t-shirts that say – Pray for #25. That’s Caitlin’s softball number.

The students also started a water drive. They got the word out that they needed water for Caitlin.

It started with a small number of students, then everyone in her class pitched in. By the end, the whole district had gotten involved.

“After seeing the whole school come together and then the whole district, it was amazing,” Esposito said.

The students collected all of the donations during a one-day drive. They received more than one thousand cases of water.

They had so much, that the Burbige family had to find extra places to store it.

“It’s amazing, “ Caitlin replied. “I just want to say thank you to everyone for everything that they’ve done for me.”

Caitlin’s cancer is in remission.

She hopes to return to school by February of 2017 to thank the students for their support…in person.

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