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JM students raise more than $10,000 for peer's dream (video)

John Marshall students count money Friday after a one-minute fund-raiser was held on behalf of senior Justin Kuntz, who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. One of his final wishes is to return to Universal Studios in Florida to meet Spiderman.

John Marshall High School students and their families raised more than $10,600 on Friday during a fundraiser to help make a fellow student's dream come true.

The fundraiser was organized by the JM Student Council for Justin Kuntz, a senior who has been battling cancer for at least two years. Kuntz has a malignant tumor in his abdomen. Doctors have told him and his parents, Mike and Shari Kuntz, that the tumor cannot be removed without serious complications and that Justin has only two or three months to live, according to his CaringBridge website.

It is not the first time the young man has faced cancer. In 2009, surgery to remove another malignant tumor required amputating his left arm and shoulder.


Kuntz is a superhero enthusiast who especially loves Spider-Man. One of his dreams is to return to Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla., and, as he did in 2008, have the chance to hang out with Spider-Man there.

When John Marshall's Student Council heard about Kuntz' prognosis, they wanted to do something to help him get to Universal Studios, said the council's president Jayden Schuster, a senior.

"He's part of the JM family," he said.

So, at about 1:15 p.m. on Friday, the Student Council had a "one-minute fundraiser," in which students donate all the money they can in a minute's time.

JM students knew the fundraiser would be Friday, so they had time to collect money and bring it to school. Also, student council members handed out bags to all of the teachers so students could circulate the bags in the classrooms and have them ready to go.

"I'm very excited … It's giving me goosebumps. We're making his dream come true," council vice president Jamie Schacht said just before the fundraiser began.

When the fundraiser started, 36 members of the student council ran up and down the high school's hallways, stopping at each of the classroom doors to collect the bags of money. It was a whirlwind of activity for one minute.

Council members brought the bags and buckets of bills and coins into the principal's conference room, where they counted the money, with the help of their adviser, Annie Thompson, and the principal's secretary, Chastity Martinson.


"John Marshall is very family-oriented, and we do whatever we can to help whoever needs help," said Katie Tran, a junior and student council member. "It makes me really proud to be a Rocket."

The student council held a couple of one-minute fundraisers last school year to help other students, Schuster said.

The $10,600 collected Friday for Kuntz includes a $1,000 check from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans in Rochester. Three Thrivent representatives presented the check to the student council on Friday.

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