When a Smile Says More than Words – FHMS Raises Funds to Support Student

Posted on 10/10/2016

We all want to help those around us, but when we see their smiling face every day, it motivates us to help a little more. Francis Howell Middle School (FHMS) raised nearly one thousand dollars to help support one of their own smiling faces, Sydney Layton, in her quest to acquire what could be a life-saving support dog.

“Sydney is a very special friend here at FHMS,” said Kaitlyn “Katt” Mossinghoff, a seventh grader at FHMS. “This fundraiser we did was a little special way we can pay it forward to our friends here who bring smiles to people’s faces daily.”

FHMS raised $900 to support Sydney, one of its current seventh grade students, who has a rare genetic condition called STXBP1, named after the gene affected. Kelly Layton, Sydney’s mom, describes her daughter best on their fundraising website, saying, “If you know Sydney, you know that even though she can’t talk, she says so much with her precious smile and caring eyes. Even though she can’t walk, she quickly makes her way straight into your heart.”

It must be true, because her classmates and school community presented her and her family with a $500 gift card to PetSmart, and made a $400 donation in her name to 4 Paws for Ability (a non-profit company that trains service dogs for children with disabilities, as well as for military veterans with disabilities). Thanks to the efforts of the FHMS community and other generous donors, Sydney will be getting her seizure assistance dog. But FHMS students still wanted to do more, so they had a “Coins for Canines” drive, and participated in a bean bag toss at lunch, called “Throw Me a Bone.”

“It was wonderful to see the Francis Howell Middle School students and families unite behind such a great cause,” said FHMS Assistant Principal, Dr. Kirsteen James. “We just presented her with the donations on Tuesday. Her mom also shared some insight about the dog, about Sydney, and more, with her class.”

To learn more about Sydney, and/or help support 4Paws For Ability, Inc., visit her fundraiser website.

Dr. James said, “At Francis Howell Middle School, we are truly blessed to call such a generous, caring, and supportive school community home.”



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