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WASHS student's classmates, teachers play soccer to fight cancer

While Ethan Barnhart was receiving chemotherapy, 900 students paid $1 each to watch game

May 06, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- At a Waynesboro Area Senior High School soccer game on Thursday, it wasn't about the score or the players' athletic prowess.

The focus was a 15-year-old boy not at the game because he was receiving chemotherapy at Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center.

Ethan Barnhart's classmates organized the faculty vs. student soccer game in tribute to his fight against Ewing's Sarcoma. Nine hundred students paid $1 each to watch the game during an advisory period.

Barnhart's family selected the American Cancer Society and Four Diamonds Fund as recipients of the money raised.

"He wishes he could be here today," Gary Barnhart said of his son.

Gary Barnhart attended the soccer game, as did Ethan's grandparents, Clarence and Delores Barnhart. His mother, Tanya Barnhart, remained in Hershey with him during the day.

The game brought about some good-natured competition.

"It's not too late to forfeit!" Tom Hoffman, dean of students, yelled to the teenagers during warm-ups.

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Freshman Jacob Ochoa and Clay Green were confident their team would win, despite being outnumbered almost 2-to-1 on the field.

Junior Derek Null, who spearheaded organizing the game through the school's spirit club, took some pity on the faculty after hearing several days of trash-talking.

"I'd love to see the faculty win, honestly," he said.

That didn't happen.

The students scored twice in the half-hour game, while the faculty scored once. Scoring students were Nolan Walck and James Clement. Business teacher Stephen Schoenfeld made the lone goal for the faculty.

The real winners, of course, were the charities.

"Ethan's our teammate, so we really have to show support," Jacob said, saying Ethan has been able to watch his junior-varsity soccer teammates at practices.

Ethan also attends school when not at Hershey Medical Center.

"He has a week on and a week off," Clay said.

Gary Barnhart said his son was diagnosed with the form of cancer just over two months ago. He started 14 treatments of chemotherapy on April 16 and will undergo radiation starting in early June.

The family initially thought Ethan had pulled a muscle in his thigh while playing soccer.

"It caught us off guard," Gary Barnhart said of the eventual diagnosis.

Ethan's spirits and strength have remained intact, and the tumor has started shrinking, according to his father. He said the family has relied on its faith in God.

"His goal is to play a few games of soccer in the fall," Gary Barnhart said.

The Indians and Maidens Club received approval as a new club in November. Emily Dickey and Brian Fisher serve as advisers for the school spirit club.

"The club wanted to give back," Fisher said.

Donations submitted at the game brought the grand total to $1,500, Dickey said.

Assistant Principal Stephanie States said the students who initiated the benefit showed great leadership.

"The empathy I think I've seen from the rest of the student body is just incredible," she said.

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