#ParkerLovesLife | Community rallies around young girl's fight

Parker Monhollon (Photo submitted)

SILVER LAKE, Kan. (WIBW) From screen savers in the computer lab, to signs decorating the walls, to the sudden emergence of purple as a favorite wardrobe color, Silver Lake Elementary School is rallying around one of its own who is in a fight for her life.

Third-grade student Cooper Campidilli explains it in simple terms.

"It's for Parker because she's my friend," he said. "We love her."

A few weeks ago, eight-year-old Parker Monhollon started having headaches and her eye wandered. School nurse Ann Rupp thought is was unusual and urged Parker's parents, Amanda and Danny, to get it checked out.

"No one thought it was the big, bad wolf. But it was the big bad wolf," Rupp said.

The wolf is called DIPG, a tumor on the brain stem.

"There is no cure. It is inoperable," Rupp said of the prognosis. "It's the worst of the worst."

Among those learning the news were Parker's 14-year-old sister Rivers Schwen and younger brother Dominic, who is in first grade.

"For a second, I was shocked," Rivers said. "You learn to accept it, but it's still hard."

Making a bit easier, she says, is her little sister's personality.

"She is a very sassy little girl - she's a firecracker!" Rivers laughed when asked to describe Parker. "That's why we think she can beat this - because she's a fighter."

Rupp says she and other school staff have done their best to explain the seriousness of the situation to Parker's classmates.

"They had a lot of questions," she said.

But third grade teacher Diane Herrmann says she is overwhelmed at how the students have responded.

"They wanted to do everything they could for her," she said. "They had way more ideas but we couldn't do all of them."

With Parker's third grade classmates leading the way, a Pennies for Parker campaign raised nearly $2,000 dollars in three days; a t-shirt order soared from a few dozen to nearly 600; plus, there are bracelets, food sales, traditional rivals Rossville and St. Marys are pitching in - and there's the mess started by one of Parker's friends from her Kansas City dance studio - the Parker Pie Face Challenge, inviting people to take a pie in the face and make a donation.

"I am so proud of them," Herrmann said. "The whole community aspect, helping a friend,being compassionate - I think they're learning a lot of lessons about how they can be involved and make a difference."

"It's really great living in a small town and knowing that everyone knows everyone and so many people are supporting you and sending positive energy your way," Rivers said.

Parker is sending that positive energy right back - posting daily videos on her "Parker Loves Life" Facebook page while she and her parents explore treatment options at St. Jude's hospital in Memphis.

As she fights, her family says it's a comfort to know she has more than a little help from her friends.

A fund to help the Monhollon family is set up through Silver Lake Bank. Checks may made out to Parker Monhollon or Amanda Monhollon and sent in care of 2011 SW Gage Blvd., Topeka, KS 66604. Donations also can be made online at www.parkerloveslife.com.

Rossville High School is hosting a silent auction to benefit the Monhollons during their basketball game versus Silver Lake. It takes place February 12.

In addition, donation jars are located at Caseys, Wehners and Philips 66.