Banding Together: Bracelet Sales Help Cancer Patient


Media by Kenzie Winstead

Pictured is a "Fight for Jeremy" band. Wentling hopes to sell 1,000 for a total of $5,000 to be donated to the Presley family.

Maddie Eveland

He was doing great. Suddenly, last year he lost his speed. Where he used to be able to run long distances, day after day his condition worsened.

On Dec. 10, 2015, Cathy Presley, mathematics teacher, was given the news that her son, Jeremy Presley, Class of 2005, has chronic myelogenous leukemia. 

Any form of chronic leukemia is better than acute and about 95 percent of people can manage with just a pill a day and live a relatively long, normal life. 

“Unfortunately, Jeremy seemed to be in the 5 percent,” Presley said. “He started taking the third, last and final drug that he could try and while it does in fact stop his body from making the cancer cells, it also takes a massive toll on his body and causes him to take even more medication.”

Since Jeremy’s diagnosis, Presley has sought comfort and encouragement from the cancer support community in St. Louis. 

“I’m living every day to the fullest and loving my time with Jeremy thanks to the constant support from my friends and family, and especially my students here at MHS,” Presley said.

A main source of support Presley has here comes from one student in particular whom she tutored. Abby Wentling, senior, began a fundraiser in honor of Presley and her son by selling wristbands for $5 that read “Fight for Jeremy.”

“She was always so generous,” Wentling said. “She’d help me before and after school and even do extra things like bring food. This was honestly the least I could do for her.”

All proceeds go directly to the family, including the $125 in manufacturing costs, which Wentling paid for entirely by herself. 

Wentling designed and ordered the wristbands fairly quickly, but the process of getting the fundraiser organized took a lot longer and required more support, which she received from the National Honors Society (NHS). 

“I knew I couldn’t sell and distribute the bands alone, and since NHS has such a strong focus on helping in our own community, they seemed like the perfect club to back my fundraiser,” Wentling said. 

Katherine Bauman, NHS sponsor, was more than willing to help Wentling with this fundraiser and did so by getting 15 additional members to help sell bands. 

“I am very proud of Abby for taking the initiative to help someone in need in our own community,” Bauman said. 

They have a goal of selling 1,000 wristbands for a total of $5,000 to be donated to the Presleys that is being tracked through a Gofundme page. 

“I want to encourage anyone who is thinking about committing to help others or this fundraiser to reach out to organizations like NHS or Key Club,” Bauman said. “We are always willing to help and support others who are trying to give back.”