Community rallies for Firebaugh student battling leukemia

A seventh grader battling leukemia got an unforgettable surprise at his middle school on Friday.
FIREBAUGH, Calif. (KFSN) -- In a crowded middle school gym, hundreds of people waited anxiously to see Marco Arias -- a 13-year-old student diagnosed in November with leukemia.

"This is our home. We're a family and Marco's our family," Firebaugh Middle School teacher Debra Peppers said.

Because of his cancer, Arias hasn't seen many of his classmates in months. He even wrote on Facebook saying "sometimes I don't want to live anymore."

So to lift his spirits, a surprise rally was held in his honor. It would take two weeks, more than 500 students and a whole lot of inspiration.

"What's been amazing is what they've contributed, donating the limited funds they have to purchase T-shirts, to purchase Marco ribbons," Firebaugh Middle School principal Marc Sosa said.

And it would all be worth it, to see the look on Arias' face.

"I was really astonished and really emotional actually," Arias said.

Firebaugh Middle School raised more than $4,000 for his family in just one week and created a video with all their students he can replay over and over at home. On this day, Arias is leaving with more than just a generous check.

"I don't feel alone at all," Arias said.

He leaves knowing he's got a lot of people in his corner in his fight against cancer.

Donations for Marco Arias and his family can be made at any United Security Bank, C/O Patricia Zavala de Arias for Benefit of Marco A. Arias.

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