UNSUNG HERO: Goreville high school students become Angel's for A - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

As teenager Abby Schuhardt fights a rare disease, the community works to help with medical expenses.

UNSUNG HERO: Goreville high school students become Angel's for Abby

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GOREVILLE, Ill—In this week's Unsung Hero, a Johnson County Church is thanking Goreville High School students for helping them raise money for a local family.

As teenager Abby Schuhardt fights a rare disease, the community works to help with medical expenses. Church members say without the student's help, their fundraising efforts would not be possible. 

Goreville High School and Junior High Principal Jeri Miller has no problem bragging on her students.

"These kids just every day do things that make me feel like a proud mom," said Jeri.  

As a matter of fact, her students are becoming widely known as Goreville's angels for helping out one of their classmates, Junior Abby Schuhardt.

"She's just a funny character. She's very loving. She's a great person to be around," said friend Tyler Johnson.    

"I don't think she has a single enemy. I know that in Goreville schools she doesn't," added Jeri.  
    
Abby was diagnosed with an Arteriovenous malformation (AVM) of the cervical spine when she was 8-years-old and living in the Shiloh-O'Fallon area.

"We started Angels for Abby because where she came from, they originally had Angels for Abby bracelets when she had health issues back in 2010," said school secretary Ali Buffington.  
    
Now, Abby is also living with a tumor in her neck along with AVM.

"She's a fighter and I want her to keep fighting and I can't wait till the day where she walks through those front doors," said Jeri.  

Her mom, Amy, said they've traveled out of state to places like New York and Arizona for medical services. Right now Abby is in Herrin Acute Rehab and the school has sold hundreds of bracelets and t-shirts to help the family with medical expenses.

"It started with a prayer circle and then we got bracelets and started doing fundraisers and stuff. For our Junior Class, we did a car wash and all the donations that we got went straight to her," said classmate Payton Sopczak.  

Abby's church, Bethlehem Gospel Mission in Tunnel Hill, has planned a benefit dinner for the family this weekend.

"Without these kids, this event would not happen," said church member and organizer Sharon Karraker.   

Sharon has known Abby for years and believes the students are setting an example thoughtful for other teenagers.

"There are so many people out there that could learn and benefit from how these young people here are acting," said Sharon.  

The students have planned a silent auction and have designed their own special place-mats for the night of the dinner. Sharon says they also plan to help with clean up.

"It's just an honor to even do this stuff for Abby because she's such a great person and she deserves it," added Tyler.   

But it's Abby her classmates call the example. With all she's gone through they said she remains the smile-friendly girl they know and love and now they are just ready for her to come home.

Amy says the support has been astounding and the family could never repay for all the good everyone has done. She calls them all, "true Angels For Abby."

Information on the benefit dinner can be found here.

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