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Taking Flight: A Sparrow Soars

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PHOENIX, Ore. — For the first time since 2008, Phoenix High School has a Sparrow Club. It was launched earlier this a year with a freshman student spearheading the school’s club.

Phoenix High School’s Sparrow Club is getting ready for Mr. PHS. It’s a benefit to raise hundreds for their Sparrow; flyers are being put together and donation requests typed up.

The club’s student leader, Chloe Staten, is asking businesses to donate to become an inspiration, but what they may not realize is they would be following her lead. Five years ago at just 10-years-old, Chloe was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer.

“Automatically what popped into my mind was, I don’t want to die,” Chloe recalled.

It wasn’t a battle she had to fight alone. That same year, 2008, Phoenix High School students watched a video in an assembly, adopting Chloe as their Sparrow.

“The assembly was very powerful, a lot of my friends were crying,” said Chloe’s brother, Hunter Staten.

“It’s very touching to know this whole school, they were on their feet for her, they were cheering for her,” said Ruth Staten, Chloe’s mom.

At the time, the then 10-year-old had already lost her hair and was going through weekly rounds of chemotherapy that would go on to last a total of six months. All the while, Phoenix High Schoolers were supporting her, doing community service and raising money for Chloe and her family.

“It felt truly amazing, to have people behind me and pushing me toward remission,” said Chloe.

“The fact that a high school student can step out of their own little world and think to do something compassionate for some other person, that’s great, that’s world changing,” said Ruth.

Now, five years later, on the outside it may look like Chloe’s world is back to normal: She’s cancer-free, and her hair is back, but her world was forever changed.

“I just think cancer helped me out so much, in my life,” said Chloe. “It made me look at life in a different perspective, like, I don’t know where I’d be if cancer didn’t affect my life.”

With that change in perspective, Chloe brought sparrow clubs back to Phoenix High School, for the first time since she was their Sparrow. This year, adopting Antonio Prince, a 4-year-old boy with cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

“I hope, eventually he realizes we helped him push through what he was going through, too, and I hope every Sparrow does that, too,” said Chloe.

The students are giving Antonio financial help and words of support, notes that Chloe and her family still have, providing inspiration and helping more Sparrows fly. Chloe has received national recognition for her community service. Last year, she was one of only two Oregonians honored in Washington D.C. With the presentation of the 2012 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.