Classroom, businesses join in boy’s mission to help others
Leada Gore, Hartselle Enquirer
A little boy’s experience with a life-threatening disease has led him and others to join in the fight for a healthier future.
Jacob Hyatt, 9, will celebrate his fifth cancer-free year in March after being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in 2002.
Instead of just celebrating, however, Jacob is working to help those who want to use the services of the Ronald McDonald House, a home where families of sick children can stay during a hospital visit. Each year since Jacob’s diagnosis, the Hyatt family, Jimmy and Becky Hyatt and brother Zach, 15, raise money and supplies for cancer-fighting organizations such as the Ronald McDonald House. Other fundraising efforts have included collecting bottled water for Camp Smile-A-Mile and teddy bears for Children’s Hospital.
This year, Jacob, who attends Blountsville Elementary School, wanted to collect aluminum tabs to pay for a family’s time at the Ronald McDonald House. That goal and an unlikely Hartselle connection brought Jacob and his family to Crestline Elementary School last week so he could thank the first-grade class that’s helping him reach his goal of 100 gallons of pop tops.
Hartselle resident Dawn Holladay learned Jacob’s story from her mother, Sarah Gorman.
Gorman manages Curves in Cullman, where Becky Hyatt is a member. She told her daughter, who manages the Curves in Hartselle, about Jacob. Holladay got the Hartselle Curves location into the action, collecting 19 gallons of pull tabs. She also told Jacob’s story to her son, who just so happens to share the same name.
Jacob Holladay told his first grade class at Crestline Elementary about the pop-top project and they added to the collection. The first grade class, taught by Sonya Letts, is accustomed to helping others, foregoing trading gifts at the holidays in favor of collecting canned goods for a special family during the holidays and sending Valentine’s to U.S. soldiers stationed overseas.
Last week, the Hyatt family came to Lett’s class to thank the students in person. And while Jacob Hyatt collecting even more gallons of tabs, he wasn’t the only one taking something home from the experience.