Nowata 5th Graders Surprise Fellow Student Facing Transplant

Friday, March 2nd 2012, 7:25 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Up in Nowata, the fifth grade class at Glen Moore Elementary took part of the afternoon off. They had to get ready to surprise one of their classmates.

The 5th grade at Nowata's Moore Elementary lined up to sign a t-shirt declaration "I believe." The t-shirts are just a part of what this group of students has been planning for one of their classmates.

The students and teachers have been planning a surprise - that came together Friday in the lunchroom. The banners were hung and everyone waited for the arrival of a little boy who has already missed a lot of school - and who won't be back until next year.

"Hunter is a very special kid to all of us and he's got so many friends here. We just wanted to do this one thing before he goes to try to give him a boost of confidence," said 5th grade teacher Jordan Green.

Hunter Billbe, 11, has a rare immune system disease that only be cured with a bone marrow transplant. That starts Monday - but first - there was the surprise.

The cheerleaders led the pep rally, and his classmates cheered to create a memory that will have to last. The operation means he's going to be in isolation - at least well into the summer.

For Hunter, the surprise wasn't so much all the applause and the special attention.

"I was surprised that they even let them get out of class," Hunter said.

His mother could see the bigger picture of being part of a community that cares.

"We expecting cake and ice cream, we didn't know all this was going to happen, so it's a shock, but for a community to do all this for you, Wow," said mom Lilly Billbe.

The hospital has found a perfect match for Hunter's bone marrow so his family is optimistic. They believe, as do his classmates.

Check out more pictures of Hunter's send off