Source: Sherman Publications

A Concert for Alayna

by Meg Peters

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 hundreds of volunteers put the event together. Alayna was diagnosed with leukemia in April, and underwent severe complications from the chemo, but that has not stopped her community's love from spreading.

“At this pint we have probably raised about $5000 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.

Her 14-year-old daughter Jackie Priebe was the creator of the concert idea, having grown up with Alayna.

“It was very emotional, I looked at Alayna’s mom and she was crying, and I almost cried too,” she said. Jackie was supposed to give Alayna guitar lessons this summer, but instead wrote a song for Alayna and sang it during her time on stage.

Several tables were set up by volunteers selling baked goods, bracelets, hair accessories, lemonade, anything to raise a few dollars for the family. At another tent supporters could write Alayna a little note on a card and then strung them like prayer flags to the tent. Jackie said it would be hung in Alayna's hospital room.

Hannah Houppert, a 7th grader at Waldon, wrote a tag for Alayna along with her mother Vickie Houppert. “I’m telling her to stay strong and that we miss her at school, because I really miss her,” Hannah said.

Both the Houpperts hoped that the giant panda--an item for the silent auction--would bring in the big donations for the family.