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Power for Parker gives back

Parker+Kress%27s+front+room+was+filled+with+gifts+for+the+University+of+Iowa+Children%27s+Hospital+after+asking+for+donations+from+those+who+have+been+Power+for+Parker+supporters.
Parker Kress's front room was filled with gifts for the University of Iowa Children's Hospital after asking for donations from those who have been Power for Parker supporters.

Parker Kress's front room was filled with gifts for the University of Iowa Children's Hospital after asking for donations from those who have been Power for Parker supporters.

Kristin Dumser, Power for Parker Facebook group

Kristin Dumser, Power for Parker Facebook group

Parker Kress's front room was filled with gifts for the University of Iowa Children's Hospital after asking for donations from those who have been Power for Parker supporters.

Gibson Yost, Editor-in-Chief

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In 2016, the Pleasant Valley School District united in support of Parker Kress, a freshman at the time. Kress remains a symbol of courage for the PV community. While he is in complete remission, the “Power for Parker” movement is still in full force.

In 2014, Kress was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma. Kress received cancer treatment by numerous doctors at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. In order to prevent the cancer from spreading, Kress had to have his leg amputated. The amputation saved his life and he is now cancer-free, but he continues with quarterly scans to ensure that it has not returned.

This time, Kress’s scans came around on his birthday, Sept. 10. Instead of rescheduling, Kress decided to take advantage of the happy accident. Kress and his family took to his “Power for Parker” Facebook page to ask for help in making this birthday his most memorable. As a patient at the University of Iowa Hospital, Kress knows it’s a hard place to maintain positivity and the smallest acts can sometimes make the biggest difference. This detail inspired him to organize a toy drive, encouraging his Facebook friends and followers to make donations. Kress posted a video on the Power for Parker Facebook account asking people to order toys off an Amazon wish list.

At the top of the wish list were Legos, in honor of teacher Chris Kohn’s son, Will Kohn. Kress hoped he could bring Will a Lego set after his transplant, but he passed away in January and Kress never had the opportunity. Kress said, “Will Kohn was one of the strongest kids I have ever known, so we are doing this to honor him.”

The toys were to be sent to the Kress household, where they would be prepared for delivery to Iowa City. What happened next came as a surprise to the Kress family.

The family received an amazing response very quickly. Within days, they received 400 toys worth $4,300 in total. Just a week later, over 100 additional toys had been delivered. The boxes filled the Kress family’s dining room from floor to ceiling, a response so large that it prompted Lowe’s to volunteer a truck to transport all the gifts. He collected and delivered hundreds of presents for the kids at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.

Former Pleasant Valley student Emma Elceser believes the drive was a great idea, “I think it’s super inspiring to the kids to see someone who has overcome a similar battle to theirs who is now out there helping people, but also it just brightens their days so much when they receive little presents like that.”

 Kress’s mom took to Facebook to express her gratitude to everyone for their generosity. “A huge thank you to every person that donated! Those toys are more than just a toy. They’re a show of love and support, a show of community, and proof there is good in the world,” said Kress’s mom, Kristin Dumser.

The Power for Parker Facebook page says Kress’s scans came out clear and the toy drive went perfectly. Kress stated, “Taking all those toys up to the hospital was one of the best moments of my life and something I’ll never forget. I have another hope that I can do this again another year and get even more than this time.”

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Power for Parker gives back