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Courtland Elementary School staff and students wear hats to show their support for fifth-grader who has brain tumor
Kimberly DuPriest (left) and her daughter Jordan, 10,
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By CATHY DYSON
Courtland Elementary School students and staff turned out in Easter bonnets and Mickey Mouse ears, baseball caps, camouflage hats and fedoras to show support for one of their own.
Friday was Hats on Against Cancer day at the Spotsylvania County school. All who wear the blue-and-white colors of the Cougar Cubs could don the headgear of their choice--if they made a donation toward cancer research.
The idea came from fifth-grader Jordan DuPriest, who's had to wear a lot of hats lately. The 10-year-old has battled an aggressive brain tumor for a year, but still maintained her grades and spirit through two surgeries, four courses of intensive chemotherapy and six weeks of getting seven doses of radiation a day.
"She's one of our top, top students, a straight-A girl," said her teacher, Katie Cavanaugh. "No matter how much time she misses, she always makes up the work."
In fact, this time last year, when Jordan was diagnosed with a fast-growing tumor called ependymoma, one of her biggest concerns was getting back to school to take her Standards of Learning tests.
Fourth-grade history was put to good use after her first surgery last May, when the doctor asked her to give her tumor a name.
Jordan chose Cornwallis.
She said she planned to beat the tumor, which is wrapped around her brain stem, the same way the Americans whipped the British general at the Battle of Yorktown.
Those who know Jordan, the daughter of Kim and Justin DuPriest and the big sister of Cody, aren't surprised by her attitude.
Pete Humes, her soccer coach for five years, saw her "play with a lot of heart" on a team aptly named Courage.
"Whenever the pressure was on and we needed a big play, Jordan was right there," he said. "While I am continuously amazed at her strength, I am not surprised at how brave she is in dealing with her cancer."
Humes' daughter, Libby, played soccer with Jordan and said, "Everybody likes her."
Humes' wife, Sharon, recalled an emotional game last fall, when the team played in the Old Dominion Soccer League.
A TUMOR THE SIZE OF A LEMON
Jordan DuPriest's fundraiser on Friday helped Alex's Lemonade Stand, a foundation for childhood cancer. Her mother, Kim, said the family chose that group because it researches the kinds of tumors that Jordan and other children have.
Kim DuPriest is a logistics analyst at Quantico Marine Corps Base, and she researched how much goes to pediatric cancer through various organizations. She was dismayed by how much was spent on marketing and executive salaries at some of the better-known organizations.
So she and Jordan picked Alex's group because 90 percent of funds raised go to research of childhood cancers. More information and Jordan's page are available at alexslemonade.org/mypage/83349.