Sparrow Club Soars

Magnet school raises funds for 4-year-old

Sparrow Clubs have helped families across the country raise money to pay medical bills for children and now there's a Sparrow Club in Connecticut.

Metropolitan Learning Center, a magnet school in Bloomfield, is out to help four-year-old Lindsey Adams, a Somers girl with retinoblastoma.

The disease has already cost her one of her eyes.  Her family has to fly to Florida every three months to make sure the disease hasn't spread.

"We're doing service training hours to help this girl," said Julie Vumback, an eighth-grader, "because she has cancer and we really want to affect her life in a positive way."

The Sparrow Club members at M.L.C. will raise funds from donors as community service, just as they have in other towns from coast to coast.

"We believe kids will do heroic things when they have heroic things to do," said Jeff Leeland, founder of the program, based in Bend, Oregon.

"We had a little boy, he was nine months old.  He had weeks to live," said Leeland. "I was a teacher.  Insurance refused to pay for his transplant.  It cost $200,000.  The most picked-on kid in our school, a boy named Damien, emptied his bank account, brought in twelve five dollar bills to save his life.  The kids rallied behind that and in less than four weeks, the community raised $227,000."

Now his son is 17.  Some day Lindsey will be 17.

"I'm hoping that Lindsey sees all these kids working hard for her, if not today, in years to come when she looks back," said her mother, Nicole Adams.   "She'll see it and they can be an inspiration to her as well as her to them."

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