The future was looking grim for Harlan Elementary fifth grade teacher Chad Rutherford, after he was diagnosed with colorectal cancer five days after Christmas.
However after last month's Rally for the Rutherfords, hosted by the parents and staff at Birmingham's Harlan Elementary, things are looking a little brighter.
Not only did Rutherford celebrate the recent birth of his second child, a baby girl, the rally ended up raising more than $65,000 for the Rutherford family.
"We're thrilled that this number continues to grow as donations come in daily," Birmingham Superintendent Daniel Nerad said at Tuesday's Board of Education meeting.
More than 950 community members attended the Feb. 27 rally at Harlan Elementary, which featured a pasta dinner, bake sale, DJ and a raffle to raise money for Rutherford's young family.
Rutherford, who along with his wife Kelly has a two-year-old son, Carter, first received his cancer diagnosis on Dec. 20. Since then, it has metastasized to his liver. He first went on medical leave on Jan. 3.
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.
Besides proceeds from the raffle and ticket sales (the school sold almost 600 tickets to the rally in advance), the Rutherfords have also received donations from every school building, and every department, in the district.
According to Nerad, Derby Middle School's student council donated all the proceeds from their recent candy sale to the Rutherfords, while West Maple Elementary donated the proceeds from their loose change drive.
In addition, the school district donated the services needed to make the rally possible, providing everything from free food to transportation.
"To know we have great kids who gave their pennies...is really a remarkable sign of the sense of community in this school district," Nerad said Tuesday.
Those wishing to donate to the Rutherford family should contact the main office at Harlan Elementary at 248-203-3265.