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GCMS student plans toy drive for sick children

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

Despite facing another surgery related to his battle with cancer, Jacob Vickers, a student at Grant County Middle School, decided he wanted to give back this holiday.

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Vickers has spent nearly every birthday in the hospital facing one difficult surgery after another to battle his bladder/prostate cancer that doctors discovered a tumor as big as his head when he was just 6 years old.

Jacob, who enjoyed playing football, until the cancer sidelined him, knew he’d be in the hospital over Christmas for another surgery to try and repair damage done to his bladder following radiation for the cancer, but that didn’t deter him from starting a toy drive.
In October, Jacob, a 13-year-od soft spoken, young man, with the help of his mother, Terry Vickers, began collecting toys to give to children who would be in the hospital during Christmas.

“He told me that he had all he needed, so he wanted to know if our family instead of buying him gifts would buy them for others,” Terry said. “After I stopped crying, I started calling my friends and family to see what we could do.”
For the next several weekends, Jacob and Terry staffed drop box locations at Wal-Mart stores in Dry Ridge and Ft. Wright, as well as Kroger in Walton. There were also local drop off spots including GCMS.

“When I was in the hospital in 2007, a little boy did it for me and it felt good so I wanted to do something for the other kids,” Jacob said.
Jacob will spend the next 12 weeks at home recuperating from his complicated, two-part surgery.

“It’s tough to be away from my friends,” he said.

The last time he had surgery, Cheryl Arnold, an administrative assistant at GCMS, spearheaded a drive to get Jacob an Ipad so he could communicate with his classmates.

Unfortunately, Jacob was not able to Facetime his classmates or teachers, but he was able to use the device to stay connected to school and use it for homework, but this time the bugs have been worked out and he’s going to stay connected.

Terry can’t help but be proud of young son.
“I’m impressed with him and sometimes don’t know how lucky I am to be his mom and I mean that,” she said, looking directly at her son.
Jacob’s brother, Ben Vickers, also helped with the project by getting his classmates involved.
“It just makes me feel good to help others,” Jacob said.