Fundraiser for Jefferson student brings in $825



February 25, 2013 - 12:00 AM

Raef Casner got financial help for his recovery from a liver transplant Saturday, thanks to more than 20 women who spent the day cutting and pasting and arranging photographs in albums.
A scrapbooking fundraiser, organized and directed by Nancy Cokely, elementary art teacher, ran on for about 12 hours in Iola High’s commons area. Each participant paid registration of $25 and gave at their discretion for snacks and meals, furnished by Jefferson Elementary staff.
“We raised about $825,” Cokely said, and it would have been more except lingering snow and ice from Thursday’s winter storm kept a few out-of-town scrapbookers at home.
“We had 22 of 30 who signed up, along with vendors from Colony, Independence and Humboldt,” Cokely said.
Young Casner is a fifth-grader at Jefferson Elementary, the son of Leah Casner, who works as a paraprofessional in a Jefferson kindergarten room.
His was diagnosed with liver cancer in August and underwent two types of chemotherapy. In January he was told to gain weight — lost during treatment — so he could be placed on a liver transplant list.
Feb. 7 his liver was replaced with a donor’s at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.
He and his family — he has two brothers, Evan, in third grade, and Justin, a senior at IHS — are staying at a Ronald McDonald home in Kansas City while he has follow-up appointments.
Raef has a feeding tube to help him maintain and gain even more weight.
“He should be home soon,” Cokely said. “He then will be on anti-rejection medicine the rest of his life.”
Staff at Jefferson also had fundraisers in the fall — T-shirt sale, basket raffle, chili feed and penny drive — to help the Casners.

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