UPDATE: Boy, 8, Donates $1,500 to Regional Cancer Center in Honor of his Mom

By: Olivia Fecteau Email
By: Olivia Fecteau Email

UPDATE 4/7/14 @ 9:50 p.m.
IRONTON, Ohio (WSAZ) -- An 8-year-old boy is showing his support for his mother's battle with cancer in a unique way.

On Monday, Holden Topping donated $1,500 to the Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center at Cabell Huntington Hospital.

We first interviewed Holden last month when he shaved his head in support of his mother's battle with cancer. His classmates at Ironton Elementary School rallied behind him with donations.

Holden's mother says this experience has made her family stronger.

"They've learned a lot," Stefanie Rodgers said. "They've had to grow up a little faster than I would have liked. I think they're learning to appreciate people to understand that everyone has something that they're dealing with and treat everyone with respect because of that."

Ironton Elementary Principal John Maynard said, "I think that him taking on this role of raising money and leading this school has taught us all how to come together again."

The money will be used to buy things for cancer patients that insurance typically doesn't pay for, including temporary housing during chemotherapy treatments or gas cards to help patients travel to appointments.

ORIGINAL STORY 3/26/14 @ 6:06 p.m.
IRONTON, Ohio (WSAZ) – A story that sparked interest across the nation is touching people here in the Tri-State.

Kamryn Renfro, 9, goes to school in Colorado. After shaving her head to show support for her friend Delaney Clements, 11, who is going through chemotherapy, Renfro’s school said she could not come back to school until her hair grew back.

Under the charter school’s strict dress code, shaved heads are not allowed. Renfro’s mother took the story to Facebook and it went viral. After the outpouring of support across the country, the school board voted to let Renfro come back to school.

WSAZ.com asked viewers to share their thoughts on this story, and one of the stories shared involves a young boy in Ironton who is rallying behind his mother as she fights breast cancer.

Holden Topping, 8, is in third grade at Ironton Elementary, where hats are not permitted under the dress code. But Topping broke that rule on Tuesday.

“Because people were making fun of me for having a bald head,” Topping said.

Topping decided to shave his head to support his mother, Stefanie Rodgers. Rodgers was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2013 and told WSAZ.com she decided to shave her head this week as her hair began to fall out from chemotherapy.

“It was just coming out so bad,” Rodgers said. “It was just everywhere and it was getting to be the point where it was just disgusting.”

After shaving his head, Topping said he worried his classmates would tease him, so he wore a hat to school and was sent to the principal’s office.

“Sometimes the rules don't apply, and this is one that doesn’t,” John Maynard, principal of Ironton Elementary, said. “I just think that it's awesome that he's brave enough to do this.”

Despite the school’s dress code, Maynard said he thinks school is about more than discipline and testing.

“Shouldn't schools be teaching that? How to reach out to everyone, how communities can extend beyond rules and testing?” Maynard said. “I hire teachers who care about people, and I want my kids to learn about caring about people.”

Maynard and Topping decided together to hold “Hat Day” at the school on Thursday, March 27. People can donate money to wear a hat, and money will go to the center where Rodgers is receiving her chemotherapy treatments.

“It makes me feel good because they're wearing hats in honor of my mom,” Topping said.

“People don't realize what little gestures mean to people going through breast cancer,” Rodgers said. “Every little thing means so much.”

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