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A Concert for Alayna

A Concert for Alayna
Hannah Houppert, a 7th grader at Waldon, signs a tag for Alayna along with mother Vickie Houppert, right. "I'm telling her to stay strong and that we miss her at school, because I really miss her," Hannah said. Both hoped the giant panda would make big bucks for the family in the silent auction. Meg Peters. (click for larger version)
September 25, 2013 - Supporters of the 12-year-old girl from Lake Orion, Alayna, came out all day last Saturday, September 20 to help raise funds for her family. Alayna's mom and dad were in attendance but remained incognito while more than 20 venders, more than 20 musicians, and dozens of volunteers put the event together. Alayna was diagnosed with leukemia in April, and underwent severe complications from the chemo. But that didn't stop her supporters from rallying for her family.

"At this pint we have probably raised about $5,000 at least, and it's growing. We've had tremendous community support, we've probably seen at least 2,000 people throughout the day. It's beyond what we ever expected, ten times over. Volunteers came from every part of town and just started doing what they do, setting up the bake sale, the hot dogs, buffalo Wild Wings was here with their wings. Everybody had a role and they just did what they do and made it turn into this incredible event," said Dawn Priebe, organizer.

Priebe's 14-year-old daughter Jackie was the concert creator. Jackie got up on stage at the Wildwood Music Festival earlier this summer and afterward thought, "we can do this for Alayna too."

She was supposed to give Alayna guitar lessons this summer but instead wrote a song for her that she sang to the crowd at Alayna's concert.

"It was very emotional, I looked at Alayna's mom and she was crying, and I almost cried too," she said.

Apart from the singing and dancing down by the pavilion, multiple tents selling baked goods, bracelets, hair accessories, face painting and other goods in the sport of fundraising flooded the hill. At one particular tent supporters and friends could write Alayna a note on a small card, and then string it together with the hundreds of other cards like prayer flags.

Hannah Houppert, a 7th grader at Waldon Middle School, signed a card for Alayna along with mother Vickie Houppert. "I'm telling her to stay strong and that we miss her at school, because I really miss her," Hannah said.

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