Pekin student sells T-shirts to help a friend fight cancer

Emily Ellis, Pekin, displays the shirts she made to raise money for a friend fighting cancer.

When Emily Ellis, a senior at Pekin High, heard about a staff member at the high school had been diagnosed with cancer, she wanted to do something to help.

Ralph Conger worked as a janitor at the school before he was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. He and Emily had formed a bond, and though there were several activities taking place throughout the school and the community to raise money for him, she wanted to do her own part to chip in.

"We had an auction for Ralph to raise money for him and I figured I want to do something else and that's what I decided to do is make t-shirts because that'd be another way to help him out and help the family out," Ellis said.

Through friends and Facebook, Ellis has sold well over 100 t-shirts and counting. Many students at the Pekin schools wore their shirts Tuesday, in honor of Ralph and his fight.

Ralph's family members were also at Pekin High,and one of them said it is extraordinary how the small community has come together when one of them needs help and support.

The Pekin Student Council is also hosting a blood drive Wednesday morning starting at 10 a.m. at the school to continue fundraising for Ralph and his family.

Ellis's mother said she is very proud of her daughter. Ellis plans to attend William Penn University next year to play basketball and major in physical education.

The t-shirts are still being sold, any size shirt is $15 and can be mailed to Pekin High School.