Aug 12, 2023
5th Grader Raises Thousands for Her Teacher Whose Infant Died
A Nebraska fifth-grader raised thousands of dollars for her grieving teacher, who recently mourned the death of her baby.
Janice Rhods, a teacher at Karen Western Elementary School, spent much of her time outside of the classroom this year taking care of her 5-and-a-half-month-old son Caden, who a hypoplastic left heart syndrome, according to local news outlet KETV.
Adrianna Case, one of Rhods' students, generously stepped up to help her teacher after she noticed her struggling.
"I know this is probably costing her a lot of money, and I want to give her some money back to help her and her family," Case said on GoFundMe. "Mrs Rhodes gets sad at school sometimes although she tries to hide it I have seen her cry a few times. I just want to be able to help her and her baby."
Case told KETV that she was surprised when donations flowed in — exceeding her goal. (As of Dec. 3 the fundraiser reached over $3,000.)
"I thought it would just be like a couple hundred dollars," Case told the outlet.
The bond between student and teacher grew stronger.
"It's more of, what she did to show her compassion and caring for others. Because she showed that for me, I know she'd do that to other people," Rhods told KETV.
Her son Caden died on November 17, after his heart condition was further compromised from catching a common cold, which led to fever and high heart rate, according to KETV.
"I think of his smile. Honestly, I think of him now in peace," Rhods told the outlet. "His life was one that was filled of pain and hospital stays. He was happiest when he was outside, and he only got that for a couple months."
According to an update to the GoFundMe page, money raised from Case's fundraiser will go towards helping Rhods' family pay for bills and funeral expenses so they may grieve with less stress.
"We are just trying to surround this family with as much love as possible," Case said on GoFundMe.