Blue Valley school rallies around 4-year-old battling rare cancer

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – The Blue Valley School District is going green. That’s the color scheme for a powerful new fundraiser known as #TeamOwen.

Four-year-old Owen Cigich’s brave battle with two life-threatening conditions inspired Team Owen to raise over $25,000 in just over a week.

Owen’s mother, Kathleen Cigich, is the beloved principal of Lakewood Elementary in the Blue Valley district.

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“It’s humbled because I got into this because I wanted to take care of other people and their children every day,” Cigich told FOX4. “And now they take care of me and my children instead. I am so grateful.”

Owen was born with kidney disease and was preparing for a transplant until recently.

“Two and a half weeks ago, we went for our kidney transplant evaluation,” Cigich explained. “And during that there was an ultrasound and they found a mass on his liver, which is a rare form of liver cancer.”

Doctors diagnosed Owen with hepatoblastoma, a survivable but exceptionally rare cancer.

Parents of children at Lakewood Elementary sprang into action to help the Cigich family in any way they could.

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“There are a lot of kids in school and she knows them all by name,” said parent Ashlee Shafer. “She knows them personally and she does her best, even though we know she’s solving some major medical issues for her son at home.”

Team Owen has sold enough t-shirts to make a bold statement on the last day of school at Lakewood.

“All the kids wore green to support Owen, and we chose the phrase ‘You’re Amazing’ for our T-shirts,” Shafer said. “But Owen’s actually says, ‘I’m Amazing’ on it.”

Megan Bennett, another Lakewood parent deeply involved with Team Owen, shares Cigich’s dedication to her students.

“She really helps the underdogs, the ones who really need it and the new kids,” Bennett said. “I’m just glad we can do the same for her now.”

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