Area schools rally for student Marlee Smith - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Area schools rally for student Marlee Smith

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WSIL -- Hundreds of area students wore Anna-Jonesboro High School's white and blue Friday as a way to raise more than $6,500 for Marlee Smith. She's the freshman who was recently diagnosed with Leukemia and is currently undergoing chemotherapy, but the idea to fund raise started small with two girls. 

Both Jaley Watkins and Jacqueline Wilkins are sophomores at Anna-Jonesboro, and although they're a grade older than Smith, they played sports with her growing up. 

"Whenever we first met, we were just playing school ball together," Watkins explains. "Then about two years in, we started playing traveling ball together." 

Watkins says Smith was admitted to the hospital on Sunday and then hours later being diagnosed with Leukemia, "There's a lot of older people that have cancer and it's just like ok we feel bad, but then Marlee is like our age." 

The girls decided to show support for their friend by holding a Blue and White day where students pay a dollar to wear their school colors, and the event sparked even more ideas. "People started making car decals and started making shirts. It just all started blooming after," Wilkins recalls. 

Word about blue and white day also spread quickly to other Union County schools such as Dongola, Shawnee, Lick Creek and Cobden, who happily wore Anna-Jonesboro's colors. Even Vienna students rallied behind Smith making a sign in support of her. 

"She would definitely appreciate that all of us are backing her up, and she knows that we're here all the way through it," Watkins says. 

Watkins has been to visit Smith in the hospital, "I mean she was a little tired but she was still happy, she was joking around ." 

However, her and Wilkins will be ready to see her back at school when she's strong enough. "We'd be very supportive of her, and I think that we would be closer now," Wilkins says. 

There are also several locations around Southern Illinois where friends and community members can donate to the family. A bank account has been set up at First Southern Bank in Carbondale with checks payable to Pray for Marlee. Other locations include: 

  • Nalee Rae's Boutique 
  • Oxford Graphic Tee's in Anna 
  • Tom's Place in Tamms

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