Gibault Catholic High School has been affected firsthand by cancer this year, but the students and Gibault community have pitched in to make sure their own are cared for.
Matthew Lock, a Gibault freshman, was recently diagnosed with myofibrosarcoma, a type of cancer that cannot be treated by chemotherapy or radiation.
He has had two surgeries to remove a fatty tumor on the roof of his mouth, and though he is healing quickly, the surgeries left a quarter-sized hole in the roof of his mouth.
His mother, Georgia Lock, said Matthew has a “happy, move-forward attitude” about his healing process.
“Faith and prayers got us through this, along with wonderful doctors,” she said.
Though Georgia said the doctors believe they have removed all of her son’s cancer, the Gibault community is continuing its support for Lock and his family.
The school’s Hope For Tomorrow Club has played a special role and has been fundraising for a unique cause.
Lock played saxophone and always loved to do so, but no longer can since his surgeries.
Janet Thomas, the club’s adviser and an administrative assistant at Gibault, said the group has come up with an alternative idea to help Lock continue his music career.
“The Hope For Tomorrow Club will be organizing some fundraising events to raise money to purchase a bass guitar, amplifier and private lessons for Matthew,” Thomas said.
They were also responsible for a lot of the fundraising for Gibault senior Zac Epplin, who was diagnosed with cancer earlier in the school term.From left, SPPCS students Bernadette Willson, Kailey Lechner and Michala Heise collect donations for the Lock family during a movie night benefit on Oct. 18. (submitted photo)
Gabby Schmitz, a senior and one of the club’s founders, said the club got started during her sophomore year at Gibault when she and a few of her friends formed a Relay For Life team.
“After the relay, we went back to (Gibault principal) Mr. Hart saying how we wished more people our age would show up at the relay and he suggested we make a club out of it,” Schmitz said.
Karli Larson, club president and one of its co-founders, said they got involved with helping Lock after his situation came to Thomas’ attention.
“(Lock’s mother) had heard about what we did for Zac and thought it would be neat if we were able to raise some money for (Matthew) so he can play guitar,” Larson said. “He always wanted to, but couldn’t play saxophone anymore because of his cancer, so we decided it would be a nice gesture to pay for his guitar.”
The group has hosted a dress-down day and a few bake sales, along with selling pink hair extensions as a play on Lock’s last name.
“Part of the mission of the club is to raise awareness about cancer,” Thomas said. “We’re finding that it’s hitting this age group more and more.”
The group hopes to finish up fundraising this month and present Lock with his guitar and equipment in November.
Missy Kimlinger, another senior member of the group, said they came up with the name for the club by brainstorming and trying to bring inspiration to those who have been affected by cancer.
“It’s a good name, especially this year when Gibault’s been hit kind of hard by cancer,” Kimlinger said.
Those wishing to contribute to the club’s efforts for Matthew can call the school office at 939-3883.
But the outpouring of support doesn’t stop at Gibault. Students at Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic School in Waterloo also decided to pitch in, hosting its fourth annual movie night for charity on Friday.
SPPCS eighth graders decided to use donations from this year’s event to support the Lock family. Matthew was a member of the school’s Class of 2013.
From picking a worthy cause, to making food for the concession stand, SPPCS students were involved in all decisions of this service project.
Although the movie night was held on the same night as a St. Louis Cardinals playoff game and the Gibault soccer regional final, the crowd was more than generous to the cause. More than $1,000 was collected for the Lock family to help with medical expenses.