After singing "Happy Birthday" on what would have been Cyrus Hackensmith's 12th birthday, Triton Elementary fifth graders let loose their balloons on Friday. The balloon launch was the finale of a memorial walk to raise funds for Juvenile Myositis research. Photo by Melanie Dobson
By Tara Lindquist
Almost every morning, Cyrus Hackensmith would wake up and declare, "I'm happy today!"
To those that knew him and loved him, that's the single biggest memory they all share, he was always happy. He'd give hugs to all the office staff when he'd bounce into school early every morning.
Cyrus was diagnosed with Juvenile Dermatomyositis (JDM) in 2005. He died on March 10 this year from the JDM, and Triton students and staff are feeling a great loss.
"He made my day every time he'd run up to me and give me a big hug," said Carly Gilliland. "He always made my day brighter."
On Friday, May 10, Triton's 5th grade class held a memorial walk for Cyrus to raise money for Juvenile Myositis (JM). It would have been his 12th birthday.
Triton students asked community members, teachers and family members to donate money. Some of the students donated their own money. The students walked the track at Triton School on May 10 from noon to 3 p.m.
The 5th grade class of about 100 students raised about $7,000 that will be donated to Cure JM Foundation (curejum.org) in memory of Cyrus.
"I know my brother is happy that we are doing this," his twin brother Dakota said. "He was always happy, so I know he's happy and proud of us for raising money for JM, he never gave up so I don't think we should either."
Cyrus's mother Jamie, was amazed at the turnout and the amount of money the kids raised in memory of her son. "They all worked so hard," she said. "We never expected that they would be able to raise so much on their own. The community has been great."
Juvenile Myositis is an autoimmune disorder affecting approximately 5,000 children in the United States. Weak muscles and skin rash are the primary symptoms of JDM, while muscle weakness without a rash is the primary symptom of JM.