PRINEVILLE, Ore. - The community of Prineville is rallying in impressive fashion behind a recent Crook County High School graduate who is in need of a kidney transplant.
Oregon Health & Science University reached out to the school on behalf of Vicente Ramirez, 18, from Prineville, asking for the community to help in raising funds so he can get a new kidney.
According to school officials, the timing and push is in large part because once he turns 19, he will lose his medical coverage.
Hospital officials are trying to expedite the transplant process.
Some students answered the call to help their classmate by starting a GoFundMe page.
The CCHS leadership class decided to raise $4,000 to help Ramirez and his family cover the medical costs while he's in Portland receiving his new kidney.
Students did a change drive and sold snow cones, while other schools in Prineville did their own fundraising.
"It's really cool to see as a community that we can come together, not just Crook County High School doing this but as Crook County as a whole to help whoever it might be in their time of need," student Brogan Miller-Sampson said.
Crooked River Elementary School Principal Cheri Rasmussen told NewsChannel 21 Wednesday, that she received an email from school counselor Darin Kessi, asking other schools to join the cause.
Rasmussen and other teachers decided to do a coin drive.
She toldher students, and many kids started to grab their weekly allowance and donated to the cause.
Jacob Hardman told his mother he wanted to help, and the next day, with the help of his mother, he donated $100.
Rasmussen said her elementary school raised $1,700.
"It is incredible to me that we've raised this much money in such a brief a time," she said.
NewsChannel 21 caught up with Ramirez, who said he was happily surprised to see the response he has received from the community.
"I don't know what to say. I'm just at a loss of words, but I'm happy with what they're doing and how they are helping me out," he said.
In two days of fundraising, the students surpassed their goal, raising over $7,000
Ramirez is still looking for an organ donor and hopes someone can step up to the plate.
If anyone is interested in donation, they should first learn more about kidney donation. A good source of information is the OHSU webpage:
Anyone interested in donating should contact:
Crook County High School Counselor
(541) 416-6900 ext. 3119