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Caps for a Cure raises more than $500
Spout Springs student uses diagnosis to offer hope
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Two combined classes of third-grader Robert Hart’s classmates, as well many other Spout Springs Elementary students, wore caps Friday in support of finding a cure for cancer. - photo by NAT GURLEY

Robert Hart was busted for wearing a hat in Spout Springs School of Enrichment classes. So were several of his classmates.

But the teachers and administrators didn’t seem to care about the violation of dress code. In fact, they were all sporting headwear themselves.

Hart organized Friday’s “Caps for a Cure,” which enabled Spout Springs students to wear hats to school if they made a $1 donation to CURE Childhood Cancer, a nonprofit research foundation.

“I have cancer, and I just want to find a cure for everybody,” Hart said outside of his third-grade classroom.

Hart was diagnosed with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia in December 2010, when he was in kindergarten. His parents noticed he would come home from school and go right to sleep.

“My husband and I thought he was anemic or something, and then we started noticing dark circles under his eyes,” his mother, Kasie Hart, said.

They made an appointment with his pediatrician, who immediately sent them to Egleston Pediatric Hospital for the official diagnosis.

Nearly three years later, Robert is still on daily chemotherapy treatments.

“A lot of it is at home,” his mother explained. “He takes pills at home every day.”

He also receives spinal taps every other month to test his spinal and brain fluids, and also to inject chemotherapy directly into those regions.

Going to the hospital is Robert’s least favorite part.

“I don’t really like going there,” he said. “I always have to get two needles. First, they have to get my lab (blood work) drawn, and then stick a needle in my chest.”

He is on track to finish his treatments next April. He said he had no idea how, but he definitely plans to celebrate when he gets his final treatment.

“Some day, I’m going to not have cancer,” he said. “One more year.”

Having had this experience, Robert told his mother he wanted to help find a cure for the disease.

“He’s got a lot of ideas,” she said, explaining they went to the school at the beginning of the year to ask about having the “Caps for a Cure” day. He wanted to have it in September, which is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Kasie Hart said a very small percentage of funding for cancer research goes to childhood cancer.

“That’s just scary, that we’re not doing a little more to help protect (children) and make them better,” she said.

“We can raise some money,” Robert said about his Friday initiative. “Some of the medicines can make you bald, and I didn’t want anybody to see me when I was bald.”

The school raised $533 Friday to go to CURE Childhood Cancer.

“It just shows how big of a heart he has,” said his teacher, Katie Gowder. “He’s an incredible kid.”

To follow along with Hart, visit the family’s blog at rathat04.blogspot.com.

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