IDALOU, TX - Students at Idalou High School hope horseshoes will help their teen classmate who is battling cancer for the third time.
Esteban Hernandez's fight with Leukemia was described by a friend as tough. As he continues to fight the disease, his classmates decided to use their welding class to help Hernandez.
They created crosses, made out of horseshoes, welding them into the shape of angel's wings.
The project, called "Esteban's Angels," was started as an auction item for a fundraiser, and took off from there.
"With everything here in school Esteban's a big part of, it's just a way for us to give back to Esteban and let him know we're behind him, and we want to support him the best that we can," said Idalou High School teacher Michael Collins. Hernandez was an active member in the Ag program at Idalou High, Collins said, and enjoyed welding class.
Another teacher at Idalou, Sheree Case, regularly visits Hernandez at the hospital. Case, who described herself as an 18 year breast cancer survivor, said she simply wanted to help by "paying it forward."
"We've always called him Big E. He's a big kid, a big teddy bear," Collins said, adding that Hernandez was "fun loving, always had a smile on his face."
Hernandez's cousin, Marissa, is in one of the welding classes that works to create the angel crosses. She said it was meaningful that the community would try to help.
"Especially a small town like Idalou, you have these communities that come together and you know everyone will always have your back, it's awesome," Marissa Hernandez said.
"I'd just like to say thank you to everyone who is continuing to support his family, our family," she mentioned.
Hernandez's medical expenses include a trip to Houston for treatment. For his friends, this is more than a school project. They want to get him as much help as possible.
"I thought we'd gain a little bit of money locally but it's gone really big and I'm proud of that," friend Nick Zahn, said.
"He's a tough kid," said another friend, Jessie Gonzalez explained. "We've just grown up together and now, his cancer is back and it's just a little hard on all of us."
"I love welding and being able to do it for Esteban it just makes it all the more merrier," Gonzalez said.
"Of course the kids love to weld and they like to build things here in the shop," Collins said. "It's a good way for us to teach them, actually teach them some process, some of the welding process, and also let them give back to Esteban and they've bought in full force, our administration has bought in, and it's a great thing that they can actually learn in class and also give back."
"We want to help Esteban the best we can, and we'll try to fill orders as many as we can as we can get them built," Collins said.
In addition to the crosses, the Idalou community has planned other fundraisers, including a blood drive on February 14, and a benefit meal at the Idalou High cafeteria on February 26.
Collins also said Gebo's was helping to provide horseshoes for the project.
For information about the upcoming fundraising events, or how to order an angel cross, click here.
The community of Newtown, Connecticut is close to designing a…
The death toll increased after the government on Saturday attributed…
Talking Points with Bryan Mudd airs each Sunday morning at 11:30 a.m.…