Parkrose Middle School raises $14,363 for newest ‘sparrow’ - KPTV - FOX 12

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Parkrose Middle School raises $14,363 for newest ‘sparrow’

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The Kozhokar family with Laura Queen Thursday. The Kozhokar family with Laura Queen Thursday.
Abigail Kozhokar, at Thursday's assembly. Abigail Kozhokar, at Thursday's assembly.
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

It was an incredible way to end the school year Thursday.

With only minutes left on the clock in the 2015-2016 school year, students and staff at Parkrose Middle School gathered for an assembly, to surprise the family of a little girl fighting cancer with not just one gift, but 14,363 of them.

That’s how much money was raised for the school’s newest ‘sparrow,’ Abigail Kozhokar, who was adopted for the year through the nonprofit Sparrow Clubs, which connects school groups with kids in medical crisis.

Abigail was diagnosed with leukemia in February of 2015, just shy of her 3rd birthday, and was in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant. A stranger halfway around the world ended up being her match, and her cancer is now in remission.

“She’s actually doing great,” her father Andrey Kozhokar said Thursday. “She’s running, she’s jumping, she’s screaming, yelling. She’s acting like a normal kid.”

Throughout the school year, students completed more than 700 hours of sponsored community service and participated in events like a recent Fun Run to benefit Abigail.

The Fun Run alone raised nearly $4,000, according to Sparrow Clubs advisor and Parkrose Middle School teacher Laura Queen.

“We just want to be thankful to everybody who supported our family during the hard time that we had and we’re really happy to see all the support of Parkrose and all the people we know, who supported us,” Kozhokar said.

The school started its partnership with Sparrow Clubs nine years ago under Queen’s leadership.

She said this year’s gift of $14,363 for the Kozhokar family is a new record. Students and staff have now raised more than $100,000 in the last nine years to help kids and families struggling with various medical issues.

The school’s first ‘sparrow,’ Kim Hale, was at Thursday’s assembly. She also was diagnosed with leukemia, but is now cancer-free and a mother. Her baby was at the assembly, too.

Now, Queen and the Parkrose community are looking for the school’s next "sparrow." The only downside for students is they’ll have to wait until summer’s over to find out who it will be.

If you know a family with a child in medical crisis and would like to learn more about becoming a ‘sparrow,’ email Laura Queen at laura_queen@parkrose.k12.or.us.

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