As one brave young boy in South Brunswick continues his battle against a devastating disease, the rest of the school district is coming together to offer support and assistance. Brandon Dominguez, a second grader at Greenbrook Elementary School, was diagnosed with brain cancer in December.
Since that time, Brandon's classmates and the Greenbrook staff have been working to help the Dominguez family by raising funds through a program called Bears for Brandon. Students, parents and staff purchased small paper bears for $1 that are then decorated and taped to the walls of the school. It wasn't long before other schools in South Brunswick also joined in to help the family.
"The kids here all wanted to do something as the school that knows Brandon the best," said Greenbrook principal Patricia Holliday. "Bears for Brandon is a simple way for the kids to send a good message, to be supportive of him and to show him that we miss him while he's gone. Putting the bears up is a simple way to do that, so we now have paper bears lining our hallway. We shared that information with some other schools and they also picked up on the idea."
Brandon needs to receive chemotherapy treatments at the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City five times a week for the next 40 weeks. The cost of transporting Brandon to chemotherapy treatments has been estimated at $500 each week.
Thus far the students and staff at Greenbrook have raised close to $4,000 for the Dominguez family, Brooks Crossing has raised over $5,000, while Dayton and Deans have raised over $1,800.
"We started lining the walls with the bears by his classroom door and we soon had a continuous loop all around the building," Holliday said. "Now we started an inner circle that's making its way around the school."
at the district wrestling tournament, which saw Brandon's older brother David, a senior who wrestles at 135 lbs.
In addition to the donations from South Brunswick schools, the Brad Benson Auto Group in Monmouth Junction donated a car to the Dominguez family to aid them with transporting Brandon to and from his chemotherapy treatment.
"When we started this our greatest wish was for people to continue to remember that Brandon is out there," Holliday said. "A lot of times with something like this there's flurry of activity and then it slows down and goes away. But the response to this has been amazing considering there's a lot of hard times in the community. This is a very special little guy."
Greenbrook Elementary School will be holding a charity volleyball game tonight at 6:30 p.m. to benefit the Dominguez family. The event is open to the public and will also have bracelets sold to benefit Brandon.
Anyone wishing to donate can send a check made out to the Dominguez family to Greenbrook Elementary School at 23 Roberts Street, Kendall Park, 08824.
"We're just overwhelmed by the community's response to this and the amount of care and support the family has received," Holliday said. "We want to thank everyone who has already donated to the cause. The Dominguez family is very appreciative."