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PEMBROKE PINES (CBSMiami) – The saying goes, “it takes a village,” and in Pembroke Pines, the village is composed of mostly teenagers from Flanagan High and a favorite teacher, Mr. Schilling.

Just a few months ago, 15-year-old Ciani Jerez was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Since then, the support from her Flanagan family has been nonstop.

“When Ciani was first diagnosed with cancer, everybody wanted to do something,” said Chad Schilling. “And it wasn’t just one class, it was all the classes.”

Schilling set up an all-day event Wednesday at Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza in Pembroke Pines. Twenty-percent of the sales would go to Ciani’s medical fund.

This was on the same day she completed the third of four chemo cycles.

By Wednesday night, and with doctor’s permission, Ciani, her brother and her father passed by to say thank you to their village.

“For so much love to be surrounding me and my family has truly amazed me throughout this whole process,” Ciani said. “There aren’t enough words in the world to describe that feeling.”

Her brother, Armani Jerez, who is also a Flanagan student, has received support from his track team. They raised money for his sister by selling T-shirts.

“It’s just amazing to see how the community can give back to one person, you know,” he said. “They don’t even have to know Ciani, but they just come out here just to support.”

Ciani’s father says with everything going on in our country, the support his family is seeing is encouraging.

“You have people of different backgrounds, ethnicities, race, religion, but you know we’re all part of one race and that’s the human race,” said David Jerez. “That’s what counts. That we all stick together and step up for each other and help each other out no matter who it is.”

Besides Wednesday’s fundraising event, a GoFundMe account has been set up to help with medical expenses.


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