8-year-old boy with cancer gets surprise at elementary school

Second grader wanted to participate in school fundraiser and got surprise help

RIVERTON, Utah (ABC4UTAH) -- A second grader with leukemia got quite the surprise Wednesday at his school in Riverton.

It was Southland Elementary School's annual jog-a-thon fundraiser and Real Salt Lake's mascot Leo the Lion helped the little boy get through the competition.

8-year-old Kohen Church is fighting the battle of his life but he wasn't going to miss the event for anything in the world.
 
Leo the Lion brought with him a jersey and a 'kick cancer' scarf signed by every member of the soccer team.

Michelle Church, Mother, "it's heartfelt. So many people supporting us and what we're going through."

Kohen couldn't make last year's jog-a-thon because he was sick.  Weeks later, Kohen was diagnosed with leukemia.

Dean Church, Grandfather, "he was so determined he was going to be back to school. He's a fighter."

This year, Kohen was off to a great start and when he got tired, Leo the Lion was there to swoop him up.

Dean, "he's my stud and my hero."
Michelle, "anytime you have a kid that's tougher than you are, of course, they are your hero. He makes my day better and I'm so thankful he's still here."

Kohen, 'I got to run with everyone I like playing with."

All of Kohen's classmates cheered him on.

Lisa Jackson, Southland Elementary School Principal, "so great for our community, for our school, for our students."

After a hard year of treatment, Kohen is on the right track to beating cancer.

Michelle, "he smiles through all of his visits. He harasses his nurses, makes his doctors laugh and he's brought so much light at a time it was so dark."

Dean, "today, he's not a kid with cancer, just a normal kid running the jog-a-thon with all of his friends."
 
Kohen's mother says her son is doing great. Instead of weekly treatments, Kohen is having to go to chemotherapy once a month.

 


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