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Denver student battling cancer surprised with special celebration at school

"We're just so happy that we're able to be a part of his life."
Posted at 6:34 PM, Mar 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-05 12:02:01-05

DENVER — It's been a tough few months for a Denver student after he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

Verlensky Siffrain, a 7th grader at Florida Pitt Waller School, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in August. Since then, his teachers and classmates have been supporting him in every way they can.

Last week, Denver7 showed you how they've come together to get him through the school year.

"It means a lot because sometimes I can be struggling with something. and everybody is supporting me," said Siffrain.

"Nothing else describes him other than being a light for everyone," said Kyle Hanzl, Verlensky's English teacher. "I think this is a place where he feels safe and normal, you know. Because when he's dealing with the things that he's dealing with, the outside world can be very kind of scary and unknown. But when he's in the classroom, nothing's wrong at that moment."

That love and support continued in a big way Friday. The school, along with his friends and family, helped organize a special day — called V-Day — dedicated to Verlensky, to remind him he's not alone in his fight against cancer.

"Every Friday, we have a Fun Friday, and we dedicated this day strictly for Verlensky for him to just stay strong to know that that his Florida Pit Waller community is behind him," said Leola Sanchez Washington, dean of student culture at Florida Pitt Waller School.

"This was something that we wanted to do, because like we talked about, he's the light of our classroom, the light of the 7th grade. We wanted him to feel the way he makes us feel every day, was just so happy and so welcomed. And so, we're just so happy that we're able to be a part of his life," said Hanzl.

The school has also been raising money through a GoFundMe fundraiser to help Verlensky's family navigate the unexpected financial hardships.

During the event, staff surprised Verlensky and his family with a check for more than $11,000 dollars.

"Basically the day I wanted, like, the perfect day for me," said Verlensky, adding that the support has meant the world to him. "I couldn't have, I couldn't have made it without them."

His loved ones say they'll continue to be there for him through his difficult journey.

"We love you, V. Keep fighting. We're here for you, our community's here for you. And we're gonna see a victory after this," added Washington.

If you'd like to donate, click here.

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