WHEATFIELD, Ind. — The north parking lot of Kankakee Valley High School was turned into a race track Friday for the “Little 50”, a bicycling event to raise money for a staff member’s family as they battle cancer.
Six teams of students and faculty raced for 50 miles (100 laps) to determine the winner, with the main focus of raising money for the Hudecek family. The event was planned by the student council and its sponsors Tracy Cochran and Jennifer Gilger.
The event raised $6,825 for the Hudecek Cancer Fund.
Meredith Hudecek is the Health Sciences teacher at the high school and her husband was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer on Jan. 20.
“When we heard the news, we knew we had to do something,” said Cochran. “We are all family here at Kankakee Valley High School and the response from not only the faculty but also the students was just amazing.”
Teams raised money before the race to get better starting positions and to cut laps off their total. One team raised more than $2,300 to get pole position and a head start.
“The entire school helped out,” added Cochran. “From the culinary classes doing refreshments and the CTE classes making the trophies, it was great to see. Community businesses donated prizes and this was truly the first school event of the year where the students could gather.”
The two-hour event also featured music and raffles, and the response was a great turnout for a good cause.
“The kids were really excited to help out and that showed,” said Gilger.
“I think we are all happy to be able to help a teacher who does so much for her students,” said Logan Manns, student council president. “It was also great to have an event like this that the students could enjoy.”
For Meredith and the Hudecek family, the entire event and all of the support was overwhelming.
“I could start crying right now,” she said. “This is going to help tremendously. The school has done so much. I didn’t expect all of this. It means everything to me to see students and faculty come together like this, and my students are seeing what can happen when a few people come together with an idea and motivation. I can’t thank Tracy (Cochran) enough, she did so much to get this planned. Everything was so amazing.”