Harlan Elementary Rallies Around 5th Grade Teacher After Cancer Diagnosis
A 'Rally for the Rutherfords' is planned for Feb. 27 to raise money for Harlan fifth grade teacher Chad Rutherford and his family.
One Birmingham elementary community is rallying around one of their own this February and they're looking for your help.
Parents, students and teachers at Birmingham's Harlan Elementary are currently raising money to help fifth grade teacher Chad Rutherford, a young father who was diagnosed with colorectal cancer just five days before Christmas last year.
Now, a group is planning a Rally for the Rutherfords at the end of the month, featuring a pasta dinner, bake sale, DJ and raffle to raise money for Rutherford and his young family.
Rutherford, an Eastern Michigan grad, is the father to two-year-old Carter and is expecting a baby girl, Madison, with his wife Kelly later this month.
Rutherford first received his cancer diagnosis on Dec. 20 and since, it has metastasized to his liver. He first went on medical leave on Jan. 3.
Since Rutherford's diagnosis, however, the entire Harlan community has literally "rallied" around the fifth grade teacher and his family, raising money through the group's Facebook page, www.facebook.com/RallyfortheRutherfords.
"Chad is a dedicated and enthusiastic fifth grade teacher," the Facebook page reads. "His energy and enthusiasm permeates the halls, students admire him, parents adore him, and we the staff at Harlan, find him to be an inspirational and energetic team member."
Having only taught in Birmingham for a few years, Rutherford has since taught kindergarten, fourth and fifth grade, co-chaired the school's Character Education Committee and help start the school-family group, Husky Packs.
The need for additional funds is critical now, supporters say, as Rutherford's health expenses grow and his wife approaches her due date.
"With the increased expenses due to additional medical prescriptions, co-pays and the delivery of the new baby, money will be extremely short," the Facebook group reads.
"Chad is motivated to fight this devastating illness, but his family's economic situation is causing added stress to his current situation," it goes on. "In Chad's words, 'I am ready to fight and beat this illness ... It's a long road, but we're staying positive and hoping for the best.'"
With more than 150 Facebook fans for the event so far, Rutherford's supporters are hopeful the community will show the same support at Rally for the Rutherfords, scheduled for 5-8 p.m. Feb. 27 at Harlan Elementary.
Tickets are $7 ahead of time and $10 at the door, though presale ends today. Raffle tickets, meanwhile are $20 and puts attendees in the drawing to win one of six prizes, with 100 percent of the proceeds going toward the Rutherford family. Prizes include:
- One week's stay at the Mayan Palace Resort in Mexico.
- One week's stay at Gulf and Bay Club Bayside in Siesta Key, FL.
- One week's stay at the Cliffs of Bay Harbor in Bay Harbor, MI.
- A round of golf and dinner at the Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills.
- Two tickets (fourth row, center) for a DTE Energy Music Theater summer season event of your choice.
- A chef's dinner for eight at the Brio Tuscan Grille at the Somerset Collection.
Checks can also be made out to Chad Rutherford and dropped off at Harlan. To donate online, visit http://tinyurl.com/RutherfordFlyer.