Updated: October 09, 2020 10:47 AM
Created: October 08, 2020 03:54 PM
Mixed in with cardboard cutouts of students, teachers, parents and fans, sits little Olivia, who at 4 years old has battled neuroblastoma for the last year and a half of her life.
"She has been through five rounds of chemotherapy and she has had two bone marrow transplants, which is essentially really heavy chemo that wiped out her bone marrow 100%," said her mom, Grace Beekman.
The Beekmans attended Concordia Academy. The school reached out with this unique cardboard cutout fundraiser, raising money for the Children's Cancer Research Fund, in honor of Olivia ...
"We were overwhelmed with gratitude," said Beekman.
"To see so many faces from so many different generations and then see Olivia next to her brother in the stands in a school we grew up in, it’s unreal," she added.
In addition to raising awareness, the fans add an element of excitement for volleyball players taking the floor for their first game of 2020 Thursday night.
"I think it's awesome, I think we're one of the first ones who are doing this," said Concordia Academy head volleyball coach Kim Duis.
There are more than 100 cutouts.
The fundraiser has gone over so well that the school plans to do more.
"A lot of our students walk by and now they get a visual of how fun it is and they want to be a part of it," said Principal Tim Berner.
"We're just really excited for the opportunity to get to play," said senior volleyball player Kira Fallert.
Fallert will play in front of Olivia's cutout.
A reminder about how this is a message of hope and healing during what has been a very trying year.
"I think it really shows the character of our school and how far everyone will go to support members within the school and people who have been here before," Fallert added.
Some schools, like Concordia Academy, aren't allowing real fans into the first game Thursday night to make sure they understand all of the Minnesota State High School League changes and guidelines for spectators.
When fans are allowed in, they'll share the bleachers with those cardboard cutout fans.
You can find more information on the Beacon Cardboard Crew here.
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