Students at St. John the Evangelist School in Watertown give a thumbs-up to Dorian Murray, an 8-year-old boy from Westerly, R.I., who recently stopped his cancer treatments.
The students at the prekindergarten- through eighth-grade school embraced Dorian’s wish to become famous before he dies of a pediatric cancer that was diagnosed when he was 4. After cancer cells were found in his spinal fluid in December, Dorian and his family decided to suspend treatment after the new year. After Dorian announced that he wants to become famous, his goal swept social media, where he is known by the Twitter hashtag D-Strong.
The idea to support Dorian came from Catholic Schools Week committee chair and second-grade teacher Elaine Cieslewski, whose family members live in Rhode Island and are acquainted with the boy.
The St. John School community created cards and posters and a paper prayer chain of 3,214 links during a three-day in school service project.
Marylou Iannone, vice principal, explained, “Each link of the chain contains a prayer or drawing made especially for Dorian by a student at St. John School. The 3,214 links represent 3,214 prayers and wishes from the 180 students. Many students were so touched by Dorian’s story that they created dozens of links.”
The chain was stretched to wrap around the school gymnasium during Catholic Schools Week and held by every member of the school community as students said a prayer for Dorian and as Father Anthony Smith, pastor of St. John Parish, blessed the chain.
Seventh and eighth graders packed and mailed the prayer chain to Dorian in five boxes.