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Lemont residents fundraise for football coach's daughter battling cancer

LEMONT – The Lemont community raised thousands of dollars during the Sept. 13 Lemont High School football game to benefit the family of Assistant Football Coach Greg Banner.

Banner’s 23-month-old daughter, Stefanie, was diagnosed with nephroblastoma, a cancer of the kidneys that also is referred to as Wilms’ Tumor.

“I was really overwhelmed,” Banner said.

Kathy Young, a math teacher at Lemont High School and the wife of Athletic Director John Young, and Kim Michaelsen, the wife of Lemont Football Coach Eric Michaelsen, discussed trying to help the Banner family, but it was the Lemont High School community that made their idea work.

“I don’t know how, but it all just fell into place,” Michaelsen said.

During the game, volunteers collected donations in buckets. Money also was raised through a 50/50 raffle and bake sale.

Students showed support for the Banner family by wearing pink and purple – Stefanie’s favorite colors.

Banner, who lives in New Lenox, is in the third year of his second stint with the Lemont High School football team. He previously coached with the team from 2004 to 2008 and also coaches with the girl’s track and field team.

Young and Michaelsen said they were amazed by the turnout from the Lemont community and others who had heard the story and wanted to help.

“It was just an outpouring of love,” Michaelsen said. “There were people who specifically came to give money.”

Stefanie had what Banner hopes will be her last radiation treatment Monday. She started chemotherapy Wednesday, which will continue until February.

Banner said he feels fortunate to be part of the Lemont community during this trying time.

“To know that people that you may not actually even know may want to come out and help you like that, that’s what makes Lemont such a great community,” he said.

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