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Vinland Elementary students hear special message from Ian Gunnell
VINLAND — Vinland Elementary first-grader Ty Pincini hasn't seen or spoken with Ian Gunnell since the first day of school, Sept. 5.
The desk directly across from Ty, which was Ian's for less than half a day of school, sits empty. It may remain empty for some time.
Although the students of Terra Ezell's class haven't seen their fellow first-grader for more than a month now, they heard familiar voices over the intercom the morning of Oct. 22. As the students of Vinland Elementary settled into their seats, a special announcement was played: A thank you from the Gunnell family, from Ian, 6, and Jenna, Ian's 10-year-old sister.
After the announcement, Ian and Jenna led the morning Pledge of Allegiance.
Bracelets were then handed out to all the students, so they could show support for Ian and Positive Fight Mode. Ian, 6, was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia — so rare that 25 children are known to have it in the world.
Chris Gunnell, Ian’s father, said Children’s Hospital had never seen a case of leukemia like Ian’s. The type of leukemia is known as blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm. It’s usually found in elderly men.
The cost of one chemotherapy treatment for Ian is $150,000. Ian will begin his next phase of treatment this week.
To show support, the Kitsap community has embraced Positive Fight Mode for Ian Gunnell. Events to raise money for the family and Ian's treatment continue through December (more may be added in the future):
- A benefit for Ian will be held at the Minder Meats and Farm corn maze Oct. 30, 5-9 p.m., 1000 Glud’s Pond Road NE (just off Highway 303), Bremerton. Tickets are $8. Half of the ticket sales will go to the Gunnells. There will be a DJ, bake sale and costume contest at 7 p.m. (bring a flashlight).
- Mor Mor Bistro and Bar will donate 25 percent of proceeds Nov. 1 to the Gunnells. The menu will feature Ian’s favorite foods for $35; 100 percent of money from each special will be donated to the Gunnells. Toys and art supplies will also be accepted for Ian. Call to make reservations (360) 697-3449 or email info@MorMorBistro.com
- Poulsbo dentist Lance Rencher is offering free sports guards to children younger than 18 in an ongoing promotion. Suggested donation: $30. Schedule a fitting by calling (360) 779-4141.
- Poulsbo attorney Richard Tizzano will donate 25 percent of proceeds from each estate plan he does to the campaign. Appointments can be scheduled by calling (360) 779-5551.
- The Vinland Elementary Coin Drive for Ian runs through Tuesday, Oct. 23. Donations can be brought into the school, 22104 Rhododendron Lane NW, Poulsbo.
- Gordon Elementary will host a Coin Drive Nov. 5-16. Donations can be brought into the school, 26331 Barber Cutoff Road NE, Kingston.
- Gateway Fellowship, 18901 8th Ave. NE, Poulsbo, will host a community benefit concert, “Ian’s Carol: An Interfaith Jubilee of Hope and Voices,” Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. The event will feature many area church and local choirs. A silent Christmas tree auction and holiday reception will precede the concert at 6 p.m.