Students donate to Teamwalkerpete Foundation

From left, Judi Peters, Makayla Vela, Miranda Jimenez, and Jacob Cano. By TRAVIS M. WHITEHEAD/VALLEY MORNING STAR

HARLINGEN — It’s been three years since Nick Peters died, and his influence is still felt everywhere.

When the tennis team at Vela Middle School held its fundraiser, the students had to decide who would receive the money.

A sixth grader suggested the Teamwalkerpete Foundation, named in honor of Nick who died three years ago of leukemia. The Harlingen High School student was only 17.

Nick’s mother, Judi, co-founder and president of the foundation, was honored that a student at Vela had suggested making the donation to the organization.

“ I just personally thought that was really cool, because that means that Nick’s story has impacted another child,” said Peters.

At a ceremony yesterday in the Vela library, Peters was presented with two checks: one for $400 from the tennis team, and a second check from the football team for $540.

Tennis coach Michael Mccallum commended the students for their proactive approach to childhood cancer.

“The last three or four years we’ve had the kids pick a cause,” he said. “This year one of the students picked Teamwalkerpete. Just trying to spread the word a little bit. Actually the football team jumped on this year.”

The kids seemed to get the message.

“I think it’s important to donate to this organization because some kids are dealing with really tough cancers,” said Makayla Vela, 13. “I believe that our donation is going to help them better to get more money.”

Peters explained how the money would be used.

“We are using all donations that we get right now through Christmas to buy gift cards,” she said. “We have hospital go bags, and we put $100 worth of gift cards in every bag. When a child is referred to Vannie Cook or if they’re referred to someone else here in the Valley, we give them a bag.”

The Vannie E. Cook Jr. Cancer Foundation exists to provide resources for cancer treatment, research and education in the Rio Grande Valley.

“ The bags are filled with blankets and toiletries and food and things to occupy their time, but also the gift cards for Subway, Target, Starbucks, gas, anything to try and ease things a little bit for the family,” Peters said.

twhitehead@valleystar.com