JIM BESEDA - MHS Senior Drew Vandenbroeder did the honors, pulling back the cover sheet to reveal a check for a record $51,422 during Friday's school assembly to cap the three week-long community Share the Love fundraiser to benefit the Karen Hartrampf family of Molalla and the Kristy Wheeler family of Colton.$51,422!

That’s how much Molalla’s Share the Love campaign raised for the Karen Hartrampf and Kristy Wheeler families during the past three weeks.

The annual fundraiser benefits a local family stricken by personal crisis and in need of emotional and financial support. This year, two families were chosen, both whose mothers have been in a long battle with terminal cancer.

Friday morning, Molalla High School students and teachers joined together in the school gym in a celebration of song, dance and ‘sharing of the love.' The joyful performances, the hi-jinx, a standing ovation for the two families and a rousing drum roll led up to the triumphant announcement of this year's success by Share the Love Coordinator Drew Vandenbroeder as students flourished a giant check made out for $51,422.

The celebration culminated three weeks of hard work, organization and fundraising by Vandenbroeder and the school’s leadership class. The kids reached out to the community for help in meeting a goal of $20,000 for the two families. In the end, they far surpassed their goal.

JIM BESEDA - The MHS leadership class gathers with the two families after announcing the successful Share the Love results. Front row: Chloe Orchard, Austin, Jared, Eddie and Karen Hartramph, Mark, Tia, Dally and Alyssa Wheeler and her two children.At the close of the event, after the hugs, happy tears and photo shoots, both families talked for a minute about what this all means to them right now.

Karen Hartrampf, who is battling terminal cancer, said she was speechless.

“I can’t put into words what I feel,” she said. “All the hard work these kids have done, it’s just amazing. I just wish I wasn’t dying. But that’s life. And the Wheelers -- both of our families -- will always have their mothers.”

Eddie Hartrampf said he, Karen, and their three boys, Craig, Austin and Jared, are grateful for everything the students and community have done for them.

JIM BESEDA - Leading up to the announcement of this year's Share the Love success, was an hour of song, dance and high-jinx. Teachers Blane Lazaar and Tim Friesen, who promised to endure a chest hair wax if the students met their goal, lose a few patches.“I am overwhelmed how the community comes together to make this happen,” he said. “And the kids here are a really big part of it.”

Despite her battle with cancer, Karen, with Eddie and her sons by her side, was able to attend the Share the Love Concert, stop by the bowling event and play some Bingo at Friday night’s fundraiser.

“It’s been rough the past three weeks,” Karen said. “I am going for chemo this afternoon. But this is so wonderful, and it helps so much.”

Mark Wheeler was present at the assembly with his three daughters, Alyssa, Tia and Dally.

“This means a lot to me,” he said. “I graduated from Molalla in 1974, and it’s really changed. They should be proud of what they have done here. I am really proud of these kids. It means so much to our family. In a community this size, the amount they’ve raised is amazing. Kristy would be really proud of these kids. I wish she could have been here to see this.”

Drew Vandenbroeder, who is in his second year as Share the Love coordinator, has been working on the 2016 campaign since June.

JIM BESEDA - Just some of the students, teachers and community members enjoying the performances.“This wasn’t just me,” he said. “We all came together to make this happen. The leadership class is a huge part of it. We have been fighting and pawing for every donation, right up to the end. We didn’t know the total until 11 a.m. this morning, and then we slapped it on the check.

Donations are still coming in, and we are happy to keep accepting any donations for these two families.”

To encourage students to raise funds, teachers promised to do such things as get their head shaved, have their chest waxed, or sing and dance in front of the crowd during the assembly. It was all in fun, and the kids clearly enjoyed every minute of it.

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