BY GABE LICHT
DELANO, MN After reading a March 3 CaringBridge update about student Alex Weed who was diagnosed with lymphoma Sept. 21, 2016, and had not been feeling well lately Delano High School English teacher Joe Lawrence decided to do something to cheer up Weed and his family.
He wrote a poem and quickly realized it was a song, so he added chords to it, and asked choir director John Guidry if his students could sing it.
Student Kate Bruhn arranged the song and played ukulele, Lawrence played guitar, Guidry added piano, the concert choir provided the vocals, and Weed’s friend AJ Ragan recorded a video of the song.
“It was good for the students to get involved,” Guidry said. “We try to sound good. Not very often do we have a message that hits the kids like this did.”
Lawrence emailed the video of the song to the Weed family.
“I thought it’d be fun for him and his family to know we care,” Lawrence said. “It shows Delano teachers and kids stand behind him. He should be going to hockey games, not be in the hospital.”
Lawrence posted the video on his personal Facebook page with the following description: “A song for Alex Weed, who’s spending too much time in the hospital lately.”
What happened next surprised everyone.
The video garnered 295 reactions, 92 shares, and 49 comments on the way to 8,800 views in a week.
“Normally, my mom and three other people view or comment on stuff like that,” Lawrence said.
WCCO News took notice and featured the story on its 5 p.m. newscast Tuesday. Reporter Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield asked Weed if he had a message for his classmates.
“Thanks for rallying behind me, guys,” Weed said. “It meant a lot to see Delano all band together to help me out. Thanks for singing the song, meant a lot to me.”
Lawrence is proud of the amount of support that has been shown.
“I appreciate how our community responded and is rallying behind Alex,” Lawrence said. “I hope we continue to be passionate, aware, and model that for others.”
The words of the song are as follows:
“Weeds are strong, but you are stronger.
We know you’re hurting everyday.
We’re with you now, and we’ll stay longer.
While you fight this, we will pray.
That you feel better with every minute,
Stronger by the hour.
You’re a Tiger, man; you will win it.
God’s grace will give you power.
So stay strong.
Keep your head up.
We’re here beside you.
Hope you feel our love.
For God is with you,
And that’s enough.”
Just as a CaringBridge post had inspired the song, another post Tuesday shared that doctors had confirmed the worst: Weed’s cancer had returned not even three weeks after he was declared cancer-free Feb. 16.
“It is with a heavy heart that I must let you know that Alex’s cancer has returned,” his mother Kim wrote Tuesday. “Today’s scan revealed a return of the Lymphoma that we celebrated being gone just a few short weeks ago.”
Another post two days later added that Weed would be able to return to school for the next six weeks, “which would be huge.”
In the post, his father James wrote, “Please continue to pray for mental and physical health for the whole family and wisdom for doctors and nurses.”
Interested individuals can also support the family by donating to the Lymphoma Research Fund at http://www.lymphoma.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=306330&lis=1&kntae306330=58487479B8B745EC88AD68255900C28B&supId=441671341.