MFL MarMac community comes together to help one of their own

Abby Schellhorn talks to Shaun Mohs during an event prior to Friday night’s basketball games between MFL MarMac and North Fayette Valley. Teams from both school lined the baselines of the basketball court during the ceremony. (John Jensen/The Outlook photo)
John Jensen

MONONA — This time it’s personal.

That was the mood at MFL MarMac High School last week as students, staff, parents and community boosters came together to help 15-year-old freshman Shaun Mohs, who needs testing to determine if he is a candidate for a liver transplant.

Mohs has battled health issues since he was young. He was diagnosed with brain cancer when he was two years old and then had a relapse seven years later. Late last year he developed an infection as a side effect of the chemotherapy used to treat the brain cancer. That has led to liver failure. The cost just to determine if Mohs is a candidate for a liver transplant is $50,000, none of which is currently covered by insurance. The cost of a liver transplant is an estimated $380,000. Without the liver transplant, his prognosis is not positive.

“He is on a timeframe,” Cottrell said. “It’s not when it eventually happens it’ll eventually happen, we have to have this done within a six month timeframe.

“That’s the best long-term timeframe, that’s why we are all rallying behind him,” she said. “We have really good support and we’re going to hopefully have continued community support behind us.”

Cottrell, paraeducator Casey Evanson and Student Council/National Honor Society advisor Leslie Henkes all described Shaun as an incredible kid.

“To know Shaun is to love Shaun,” Cottrell said.

“He’s the most smiley, twinkly young man I know,” Henkes said.

“He’s just always being positive, always being kind to you,” Evanson said. “On tough days you can tell he’s having a tough day, but he definitely will smile.

“He just very much wants to be with his peers,” she said. “He just wants to have that social interaction.”

“The kids want to be with him and they all rally behind him so much,” Cottrell said.

The McGregor-based Friends Helping Friends Group and a group of student and faculty leaders at the high school in Monona banded together last week to raise funds to help Mohs and his mother, Misty Jones, who works as a paraeducator at the school.

Work on fundraisers began Thursday, when class officers and leaders from several student groups came together to plan events. The students and faculty leaders exchanged ideas, with more planning coming Friday, including an interview with television station KWWL.

“It’s one of things where Shaun has been sick – he’s been out of school for a couple of months,” Cottrell said. “Misty sent out an e-mail to staff, I think it was Dec. 28, letting us know that Shaun would not be returning, and because Shaun is not returning she is unable to return as well.”

It was just a few days after that, Cottrell said, that a Go Fund Me account in Shaun’s name went public.

Friday fundraisers included a hat day, where students and staff could wear a hat during school hours if they donated at least $1 to a fund for Shaun.

“We had students who were more than generous,” high school counselor Abbey Cottrell said. “We had students that gave $1, $5, $10, stacks of $20s, $100 … they just gave with all their hearts and that was such an amazing thing.”

In addition, donation buckets were set up and Friday’s basketball games between the Bulldogs and North Fayette Valley and proceeds from shakes sold by the National Honor Society were donated to Shaun’s cause. Fans also had the chance to shoot half-court shots at halftime for a $1 donation. Fans from both schools were asked to wear grey, a color associated with brain cancer.

Prior to Friday’s game, Bulldog basketball player Abby Schellhorn talked about Shaun. Midway through her speech she pulled out her cell phone with Shaun, who is currently in quarantine, on the other end. Schellhorn ran him around the gymnasium so that he could see everybody who had come out to support him. He said hello to the fans there to support him.

“We love you so much Shaun, please keep fighting because we will be here for you all the way,” Schellhorn said to him over the speaker system.

“Go Bulldogs!” he said to the crowd.

Shellhorn encouraged the fans one final time to give what they could.

“Let’s do this for Shaun,” she said.

Saturday, former American Idol winner Maddie Poppe urged her Facebook followers to support Shaun’s cause.

“I don’t typically ask for much, but this story is really pulling at my heart,” she wrote. If every person who sees this was able to donate just $1, we could help this sweet boy out in such a major way. It really is amazing what a few thousand people can do when they come together for a cause. If you aren’t able to donate, please please share. I can’t imagine what this family must be going through. My heart breaks for Shaun. Let’s come through for this boy.”

More fundraising events are planned for Jan. 28 while a larger event is planned in February.

At the end of Friday’s basketball games, Schellhorn announced that more than $2,000 had been raised. In addition, Go Fund Me donations had reached $46,320 as of Monday afternoon. Donations are still being taken. Direct donations can be made to a fund in Shaun’s name that was set up by Friends Helping Friends at Central State Bank in Marquette. Donations may also be made to a Go Fund Me account under “help-shaun-get-a-new-liver.”



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