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Niles, Howland schools help student fighting leukemia

NILES — While they may be rivals on the basketball court, students from Howland and Niles school districts came together to raise funds for a Niles McKinley High School student battling leukemia.

Junior Nathan Lough, 16, is receiving medical treatment for chronic myeloid leukemia. The fundraiser was held during a Friday basketball game between Niles and Howland.

Lough, who attended the event with his family, said he did not realize so many people would attend and support him after he and his family were introduced following the third quarter.

“I am doing all right and am happy to be here. It is amazing the support they have given me and my family,” said Lough, who wore a mask and gloves to help protect his immune system from germs.

Lough, son of Trisha and Rodney Lough, became sick last year with a rare form of leukemia.

Niles teacher Abbey Chieffo and media specialist Caroline Hines coordinated a T-shirt sale with “Battle with Bulldog” on them, and more than 300 were sold between the districts. Lough said his nickname since his youth is “Bulldog.”

“This is a special event, with all money raised to help Nathan and his family with medical expenses. This is a bigger turnout then we expected,” Chieffo said.

She and Hines said the basketball game already was scheduled, and it was decided it would be a great way to show support from both school districts for Lough.

Lough said his treatments have been going well and he tries to attend school at least one day per week to get his work and meet with his teachers. He said he plans to graduate in spring 2021.

Kyle Lough, a Niles graduate, was there to support his brother. “It is nice to see the support that he has received. I did not know he was this popular at school,” the older Lough said.

Anna Keatley and Carla Rose, both Niles Middle School teachers, said the middle school held a fundraiser dance for sixth to eighth grades. It raised $667 for Lough.

“The students wanted to do whatever they can to help him,” Keatley said.

Howland High School Assistant Principal Mike Pollifrone said the Howland students also wanted to step and help in whatever way they could.

“It was for a good cause to help a high school student in our local area,” he said.

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