November 28, 2011
Julianne Coleman is a former field hockey player and dancer who graduated from Orange County High School (OCHS) in 2003. She now suffers from cystic fibrosis, a condition that causes thick mucus to build up in the lungs, digestive tract and other areas of the body.
Before Coleman received a long awaited lung transplant a few weeks ago, her illness was life-threatening.
When students at OCHS heard about one of their own being sick they quickly pulled together, hosting a community dinner to raise money for Coleman and her family.
“What happened to her this summer is a miracle and her family can use a lot of support right now. We're giving back to Julianne who gave a lot to OCHS,” said Mariah Dermody, a member of the Student Council Association (SCA) at the high school.
For weeks student have been planning the big dinner.
“They have come in between athletic practice or drama practice or work. Some have even canceled work so that they could be here to volunteer,” said Laurie Limoge Jamerson, an SCA adviser.
Not only did students organize the meal, they cooked and served the feast to guests. Seeing so many people come together to help brought tears to Coleman's mother's eyes.
“It's overwhelming. You couldn't ask for any better people,” said Lucy Coleman.
She calls the students heroes for giving back at a time when her family needed it most. But students say they couldn't do it without the community's help.
“I'd say that it's very humbling for people to say that anybody can do it. They're the heroes for coming out and being able to give back with us,” said Elizabeth Higginbotham, SCA President.
Although Julianne Coleman couldn't make it out to the dinner, her mother says she is grateful for the students and a second chance at life.