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Casey's Team on board to help
MHS graduate battling cancer
Four years ago, Casey Clem, a 2009 graduate of Monache High School, was on top of the world.
A former football athlete, Casey Clem was also a member of the MHS Multimedia and Technology Academy.
Clem was in the technician strand with computer networking, said Greg Snyder, MMTA Coordinator.
Snyder said he remembers Clem well.
“When he walked into a room, he brought the enthusiasm level up in the classroom. He was a positive impact with his personality,” Snyder said. “Outside of class, whenever you saw him, whether in the store or out in the community, he always had a sparkle in his eye. He was the kind of person that you were happy to have around.”
But on Nov. 11, 2011 — something happened that changed his life. Casey Clem was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lymphoblastic Lymphoma — a very rare cancer in adults that usually hits children and teenagers. The stage 4 T-cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma is a cancerous and malignant tumor that formed in his chest on top of his heart.
In July, Clem went into remission, said his brother, Cody Clem.
“In August, his blood work showed a new leukemia. It had mutated and he was diagnosed with ALL — Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and Acute Miloid leukemia now in his blood and bone marrow,” Cody Clem said.
The setback sent Casey Clem, 22, back into the hospital and for the last three weeks, Casey Clem has been at Stanford Hospital and Clinics in Stanford.
“Last week he was placed in the Intensive Care Unit,” Cody Clem said Tuesday. “Right now it’s pretty bad. He’s basically been in a medically-induced coma for the past week. He was intubated because his lungs were giving out but this morning, his lungs were working again and they were able to take the tube out.”
What has been amazing, he said, was the amount of support the community has offered, including starting a social media Facebook page entitled “Caseys Team.”
“It consists of a lot of friends and a lot of people we don’t know,” Cody Clem said. “It has more than 1,700 friends — many of them planning fundraisers.
Because of the severity and length of the hospitalization, the family has rented an apartment in Stanford, Casey Clem said, and the family travels and stays whenever possible.
“Dad is on leave from work. I go up on days off between working for the fire department and ambulance,” Casey Clem said. “Mom is usually there from Thursday through the weekend.”
A fundraising committee of an approximate 10 people was created to help the family by raising funds for gasoline and other traveling expenses and because the father is not working.
Some of the fundraising includes a Bunco game set for 11 a.m. Nov. 3 at William R. Buckley Elementary, 2573 W. Westfield Ave.
The game is open to everyone and the group is aiming for 200 players.
The group is also selling raffle tickets for a homemade quilt that will feature five photographs provided by the winner, and tickets for a rifle. Cinnamon rolls are also being sold at $12 a dozen.
In the planning is a dinner-dance and a golf tournament.
“We don’t personally know Casey but once we found out about it, we knew we had to do something and jumped on board. It’s our way of paying it forward after being helped with Ted and Sonia’s surgeries,” Rafanan said. “We will continue with several more fundraising events. Just as Casey’s battle will be ongoing, so will the financial burden. Casey’s family is now looking to raise money to pay for the initial medical bills and to support his health regime as he enters a period of extensive treatments.”
The community can help, Rafanan said, by donating money toward the family at the Give Forward online site — http://bit.ly/Sr6feT — or at the Olive Avenue branch of Bank of the Sierra, Account No. 239810980. Community members can also offer support by attending fundraising events, donating items for raffles, and purchasing raffle tickets.
For more information on raffle tickets or on the Bunco game, call Samantha Rafanan at 350-2197.