Indio school to host fundraiser for second-grader battling leukemia tonight

Van Buren Elementary to host fundraiser at Red Robin La Quinta Thursday

Van Buren Elementary steps up to support student fighting cancer

INDIO, Calif. - David Magana is 7 years old. He was told Oct. 1 he has cancer.

The second-grader now plays with his helicopter at home by his kitchen window, listening to the school bells and the laughter of his classmates playing at recess across the street at Van Buren Elementary School in Indio.

"He was in school one day and was not feeling too well. He was having some stomach issues and his teacher reported he was falling asleep in class," said Alma Ochoa, a family friend of Magana and a teacher at Van Buren.

David's mom, Yolanda Rodriguez, a single mother of three children and employee at Van Buren, now stays home too, to give her son his medications and take multiple trips a week to Loma Linda Children's Hospital for his treatments.

"It's hard to see my son go through that," said Rodriguez. "I just never cry in front him because I don't want him to know it scares me. I want him to be strong."

Students and staff stepped in to support David and his family. They will host a fundraiser this Thursday, Nov. 21, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Red Robin La Quinta (78722 Highway 111). With a flier, 20 percent of what you spend will benefit David and his family.

"I just want to say thank you to all of my friends and my teachers," said David.

Two weeks ago, children emptied their toy boxes and teachers collected items for a yard sale where they raised $700.

"I know David because he was in my class in Kinder and he's also been my friend for a long time," said David's friend, Abram Morales.

David is now home schooled by his former teacher, Nicole Ramirez.

"He has an amazing spirit. Even when he's in pain, sick or sore, he still manages to sit next to me and learn," said Ramirez. "He misses classmates and active learning. It motivates me as a teacher."

To download and print the flier, click here.

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