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Students Decorate Lego-Themed Tree in Honor of Classmate

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BONDURANT, Iowa –Building with Legos is always fun, especially at school and definitely when there is an important purpose. Keatin Barber, 3rd Grade Student at Bondurant-Farrar’s Anderson Elementary, said, "Because Landon's favorite thing was to build with Lego's."

Landon Friedrickson is a former classmate. Mom Suzanne Friedrickson said, "He was wonderful, he was funny. He liked to goof around. He was smart. I thought he was handsome."

Landon was diagnosed with stage four high-risk neuroblastoma cancer when he was four years old. He died this past April, at the end of second grade. "Right before school was out. It was during the week, so it was a rough week here at school. But, everybody came together and the staff members here were amazing for the kids, who were hurting and they've been amazing to me. They're like family," Friedrickson said, getting choked up.

Now, students at Morris and Anderson Elementary Schools in Bondurant are making hundreds and hundreds of Lego ornaments to go on "Landon's Tree," but it's really a district-wide effort. Art Teacher Jana Bahr said, "The garland was done by our middle school and our tree topper was done by our high school, and it will actually be illuminated when it's on our tree."

The ornaments will be put on a 7 foot lit tree at the Festival of Trees and Lights, which benefits Blank Children’s Hospital. Visitors will find decorated trees to view and activities to enjoy. The Festival of Trees and Lights is the main fundraiser for Blank Children's Hospital. Last year, the festival raised $500,000. In addition to the Child Life Department, money goes to Center for Advocacy and Outreach. Both are supported entirely through philanthropy

Friedrickson said Landon greatly benefited from the Child Life Department, which helps kids understand and undergo medical procedures. "He had something done weekly that was not pleasant and they would always know if Landon comes in, we need a child life specialist to be in the room so it can go as smooth as possible," she said.

The students in Bondurant hope you'll check out their tree.  “I hope they think that it's really cool," said Barber.

The Festival of Trees and Lights runs Wednesday, November 23rd through Sunday, November 27th at the Veteran’s Memorial Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center.

Admission is $5. Kids 2 and younger are free. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Visit UnityPoint Health’s website for more information.

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