Randall Middle School student Ethan Hester, son of one of the school’s nurses, was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. School Media Specialist Cynde Hardy is organizing a fundraising dinner and auction to benefit the family on Wednesday, November 20.

The Randall Middle School community is coming together this month for two of its own. Eighth grade student Ethan Hester was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma recently, and in order to help his family with bills related to his illness and treatment, Randall Media Specialist Cynde Hardy is coordinating a Spaghetti Dinner and Auction on Wednesday, November 20 in the school’s cafeteria.

Ethan, who was diagnosed with the disease after finding a tumor under his arm over the summer, is the son of one of the school’s nurses, Nicole Hester.

“Nurse Hester is always there for the Randall students, so I felt that it was only right that we do what we can to help her family in this time of need,” said Hardy.

Nicole, a single mom to Ethan and his brother, Aidan, who is in fifth grade at Lithia Springs Elementary, has no family in the area to help, so she has to take time off work to drive Ethan to his regular appointments and chemotherapy sessions at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.

“The treatments are very hard on Ethan and with no family close I feel that it is important that I attend with him,” said Nicole, a licensed practical nurse.

Ethan, who recently turned 14 years old, is very athletic and played football for the Valrico Rams, basketball with the YMCA and ran track for Randall before his diagnosis. He also loves to play on his Xbox, especially games that involve sports.

Hardy is currently collecting baskets and donations for the Spaghetti Dinner on November 20. Tickets for the event will be available for $10 at Randall in the weeks leading up to the dinner and at the door.

Food for the event will be donated by Davenport’s Daily Delights and Outback Steakhouse. Randall parents are also coordinating a dessert bar where diners will be able to purchase treats for an extra fee. Abdoney Orthodontics will donate cutlery and water.

“The community response to my outreach has been amazing,” said Hardy, who expects to have 60-70 baskets up for bid at the event. “I am so happy that so many people have come together so that all the money raised at the event will be able to go straight to the family.”

A Go Fund Me page has also been set up for the family and anyone unable to attend the dinner can donate there. To find the page, search ‘Hester Family’s Fight Against Cancer’ on www.gofundme.com.

“The school community has been such a blessing to our family,” said Nicole. “Without their help, I don’t know how I would make it.”

Randall Middle School is located at 16510 FishHawk Blvd. in Lithia and can be reached at 740-3901. The dinner will take place from 5:30-7 p.m. in the cafeteria on Wednesday, November 20.

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Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.