A Raymore-Peculiar teacher and her family received an extra blessing last Friday.
Toni Cook is a special education teacher at Stonegate Elementary. Earlier this year, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She will not be working for the remainder of the school year.
Last weekend, over 300 people came out to Stonegate Elementary for a Fun Run/Walk to raise money for Cook’s many expenses.
Nikki Mackay and Brenda Sehorn put the event together. Cook’s outlook is good, but the expenses are high. Mackay, Sehorn, and their many helpers sought to alleviate some of that cost.
This cause is close to Mackay’s heart.
“This fundraiser means a few things to me personally. Breast cancer is being fought left and right. My godmother/aunt is a survivor of breast cancer, my foster mom in college passed away from it, and now a good friend of mine has been affected by it,” said Mackay. “Money is obviously always an issue when having to take an extreme amount of time off of work, especially when there is no way around it. Toni deserved this help, because she is always helping other people.”
Mackay has worked with Cook within the same Stonegate classroom for almost two years. Cook mentored her last year, when Mackay was a fresh face in the school district, and they became friends quickly.
The Fun Run offered participants the option to do a mile and a half or a 5K. The run raised $4,778, with 284 people participating.
“It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it and knowing that she will be okay with missing work now for the remainder of the school year,” said Mackay.
She added that over 300 people were there “to help, volunteer, and just be there to cheer her on.”
Cook was recovering from a surgery that had taken place earlier in the week, so she was unable to attend. Many of her family members came out to the event on her behalf.
“It would not have been as successful if it weren’t for the teachers at Stonegate Elementary and those in the community who helped donate food, raffle prizes, and money,” said Mackay.
“I just want to thank Brenda Sehorn, everyone in the community, the Ray-Pec School District, Toni’s family, and all our friends who made this possible,” Mackay added.
“With only two weeks of planning this, I can’t believe it all came together so nicely. This is something Mrs. Cook deserves; that anyone struggling with cancer deserves. It is a beautiful thing to see people come together, near and far, to support someone.”