Marshalltown Students Help Teacher with Son’s Cancer Fight

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The colors are bright, the walls are loud and it all seems fun but it’s the last place a parent wants to take their kid.

“It’s B-Cell ALL, It’s a form of Leukemia,” said Rafael Martinez, father of Pablo Martinez.

That means, the 5th floor at Blank Children’s Hospital will be Martinez’s home for awhile because his two-year-old son Pablo was diagnosed with cancer last month.

“Obviously, it changes changes your life. It changes everything,” said Martinez.

They’ve got long battle ahead but luckily for them, Rafael has 500 of his other kids who are along for the fight. Rafael is a physical education teacher at Marshalltown High and word of Pablo’s illness spread quickly.

“It’s just sad how like he has to deal with that,” said Braulio Hernandez, senior at Marshalltown High School.

“It’s horrible. I don’t know if a two-year-old should have to go through that,” said Olivia Arneson, senior at Marshalltown High school.

The students wanted to let him know they are here to help. But Making a big class trip isn’t possible because of a weak immune system and sending 500 cars was impractical, so they came with a solution.

“So, I thought well instead of 500 cards coming why not just do a video with all the classes each period,” said Chris Ehlert, faculty at Marshalltown High.

It started with making him a video. It didn’t stop there. They made shirts. Wore wristbands and even started collect money to help with bills. They’ve raised 6 grand so far.

“I feel like we are very lucky. We really mean it. We are very lucky in the fact that we have a lot of people around us,” said Martinez.

He will be forever grateful for the kindness these have shown his family. He knows the positive thoughts are already making a difference.

“Yes, yes, no doubt about it,” said Martinez.

Pablo’s first round of treatment just finished and the doctors at Blank are optimistic.

The students hope to raise as much as possible. T-shirts and wristbands will be sold at the remaining football games. Also, they’ve started a YouCaring page to raise funds.