Students at Coronado K-8 School are coming together for a common cause, to help their classmate Nic Stogner.

At age 7, Nic was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

Now, at age 14, his classmates and teachers are learning what he goes through everyday, and jumping in to help the cause.

Their education about Nic’s world started at the beginning of the school year after his eighth-grade teacher, Aimee Finkelstein, read through her list of students.

“We always get a list at the beginning of the year that lists students with allergies, students who have asthma, and then I see Nic’s name with CF next to it,” she said. “I was just floored. At first, I wanted to talk to him, but wasn’t sure how.”

Finkelstein said she started a dialogue with Nic and got an idea of what he goes through. She asked if he would be willing to explain to his classmates why he doesn’t always participate in physical activities, why he takes 40 pills a day, and why he has to go through two, 30-minute breathing treatments per day.

Nic said Finkelstein is the first teacher to take an active interest in educating other students about his disorder since he started attending the school in kindergarten. She turned his situation into a learning experience for her class.

First, she had Nic tell his story to his classmates. Then Finkelstein had her students go into the computer lab to research what CF is, and how it impacts a person.

CF is a genetic disorder that affects the lungs and digestive system, and makes kids who have it more vulnerable to repeated lung infections.

More than 30,000 kids and young adults are diagnosed with the incurable disease every year.

The research project transitioned into a contest where the students wrote persuasive essays on why people should donate to the cause that could someday help Nic.

After learning all the details, Finkelstein said it was amazing how quickly and enthusiastically the students got involved. They even started a bracelet fundraiser for cystic fibrosis.

Now, the students have obtained a national sponsor, with Burger King in Oro Valley agreeing to donate 20 percent of all proceeds from sales on Nov. 4 between

5 and 8 p.m.

The students also are planning a car wash, dance and other events to keep raising money for the cause.

Besides raising money for the cause, Finkelstein said they are hoping to raise enough for the class to get T-shirts to honor Nic.

In the end, Finkelstein said her goal is to let Nic know he matters.

“Kids need to know each person is a seed that can grow and make a difference for someone like Nic,” she said. “I want him to go to high school not being invisible. I want him to be honored for who he is.”

If you go

What: School fundraiser to help find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. 20 percent of all proceeds will be donated.

When: Nov. 4, 5–8 p.m.

Where: Burger King, 10615 N. Oracle Road, in Oro Valley

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