Communities come together for PCM first-grader fighting cancer


Prairie City, Monroe, Reasnor — the towns are more than just locations on a map where people reside. They are communities full of people who come together to help friends and strangers like they are family.

In mid-June, PCM first-grader Gannon Vande Wall, son of Ashley and Blake, was diagnosed with Leukemia. He hadn’t been feeling himself and during a visit to the doctor, his family found out the life-changing news.

Less than a day later, fundraising efforts were underway to help the family with any expenses and it hasn’t stopped since. From golf tournaments to t-shirt sales, the people of PCM have shown how much they care about one of their own.

“It is incredible, there are no words,” Ashley said.

Friday night the stands on both sides of the football stadium were filled with orange to support Gannon. People from PCM and Newton hung up their school colors for a night to show the 6-year-old they are rooting for him.

“Words don’t describe it,” Blake said. “We’ve had an abundance of support, an outpouring of support in so many different ways. Whether its financially, emotional support, it is just unbelievable.”

Gannon was mid-field to do a ceremonial coin toss at the game, one of the “best tosses” the officiating crew had ever seen. He also received a football signed by the team, a treasure for a kiddo so young.

Fundraising wasn’t over after the game, Saturday brought a golf tournament at Gateway Recreation and Tuesday while RVTV was in Monroe, a water fight on the square had all funds going to Gannon.

While the communities may not be big and have bright lights shined on them often, the people who call them home take care of each other, like family.