Elementary school creates video tribute for student with cancer - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Elementary school creates video tribute for student battling cancer

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HOLLANDALE (WKOW)-- The message behind a new music video is be happy! In their debut hit, the Pecatonica Elementary school in Hollandale pays tribute to one of their own. A fellow student who is battling cancer.

"We're a community here. No matter what. We take care of each other," 5th grade teacher Mary Sutter says.

On Thursday, more than 200 students and teachers at Pecatonica decided to record a music video in honor of 9-year-old Jaden Goninen who is battling cancer. In 2012 he was diagnosed with cancer in one of his kidneys. After going through chemotherapy and the removal of his kidney Jaden was cancer free. Two years later the cancer came back stronger than ever. Family members say it has spread to his lungs.

"We could see that he's having a harder and harder time responding to his treatments so we thought it would be time to just give him a little pep and a little cheer, a little happiness," Principal Sarah Straka says.

The group of students decided to use the song "Happy" by recording artist Pharrel. On Thursday morning they recorded it, Thursday afternoon they edited it and by the end of the night it was live on Youtube with hundreds of hits.

The timing couldn't have been better. The past week Jaden entered the hardest portion of his treatment. Last Wednesday he underwent a stem cell transplant to help fight the cancer in his lungs. Family members say the song that was used in the video was chosen because it was the song Jaden was listening to before his surgery.

"When they say no one fights alone, this says it all because everyone is fighting alongside Jaden," Jaden's mother Sundee Syse-Runden says.

Even though the hospital where Jaden is currently staying is more than 50 miles away from his elementary school back home, watching the video made him feel like he was back in the classroom with his teachers and friends.

"The students have shown Jaden is a part of them. He's not away. He's still here," Sutter says.

Jaden is technically still attending school in both body and spirit. Whenever he feels strong enough he participates in the daily lesson through Skype. His desk is being saved for him by his stuffed monkey who keeps his seat warm and ready until Jaden can go back to school in three to six months.

On Friday afternoon Jaden only had enough strength to utter one word regarding the music video made in his honor. With a large smile on his face he whispered "amazing" while laying in his hospital bed after watching the video with his family.

"Often times people think gifts are these monetary things you need to purchase whereas it's not like that at all. It's the things you can't buy that are important. For Jaden, his health and his happiness is the most important thing to us," Straka says.

To watch the entire music video visit:




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