It's early afternoon at Evergreen Park Central Junior High, and the students have left the classroom for a different kind of lesson, one about life and an untimely death, friendship and courage.
Principal Rita Sparks and others are teaching the 7th and 8th graders at the school that life is precious, and for precious, you could easily substitute the name Maddox.
Principal Sparks is friends with Maddox's family. Soon after he was born, doctors discovered he had liver cancer, which has been removed.
He's feeling better but it was touch-and-go for a while.
To help Maddox and others like him, this school is now part of our St. Baldricks Fox Chicago Schools Challenge.
We were invited in to meet Maddox and to pump up the kids, but really it was this reporter’s wife, Katie, who was the real inspiration.
Words were not enough this day; she wanted to lead by example.
"I'm shaving my head for my friend Barb," Katie Elwood said.
She did just that, shaving every inch of her head.
The school superintendent believes the students won't forget this day anytime soon.
"I am so glad that students at this age gain an understanding of what cancer is," Dr. Diane Cody said.
Barbara Marzano died two days later.
She left behind a husband, a 10-year-old son and a 19-year-old daughter.
According to cancer doctors, the gains in treatment made at the pediatric level are often applied when fighting adult cancer.
They believe a cure will come one day soon.
For Barbara Marzano, it was not soon enough.
We are one month away from our shave day March 16 at U.S. Cellular Field.
The White Sox, Spark Energy and Great Clips are partners with us in this effort.
WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
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