An online fundraiser for a longtime educator and music lover seems to have struck a chord in Greater Alton.
As of Tuesday night, the youcaring.com site for Suzanne Rodgers of Godfrey, a third-grade teacher at Jerseyville East Elementary School, had raised about $11,000 toward a $15,000 goal. Organizers started with a goal of $8,000 but increased it after donors’ generosity rapidly eclipsed the target.
“I’m just so amazed by the response,” said Amy Hillery, one of the drive’s organizers. “Suzanne is definitely the type of person that loves everyone and everyone loves and you can really, really see that.”
Rodgers has Stage 4 intestinal cancer and has been in and out of the hospital since Thanksgiving for chemotherapy and four abdominal surgeries. The fundraiser’s proceeds will pay for home health care that Rodgers’ insurance doesn’t cover. Rodgers returned home from the hospital in the first week of February.
“We knew that we wanted to make sure that she could stay home and that she could be at peace in her own home,” Hillery said. “That’s why it was so important.”
Hillery met Rodgers when their children joined the Marching 100 band at Alton High School. Rodgers suggested she join the Alton Band and Orchestra Builders, a group that supports the Alton School District’s music program.
“Basically, we were band moms, so we spent a lot of time together and we became very, very close,” Hillery said. “Now I think we’re all like family.”
The idea for using the website came from Ashleigh Schroeder, whose friend successfully raised funds through the site. Schroeder and Dawn Montgomery have been instrumental in organizing the website effort, which went live on Feb. 14.
The site lists supporters and the amount they donated, along with comments about what Rodgers means to them.
“Some of the comments that are really the most touching to me are the ones from her former students, just saying how much she taught them how to love reading, and how they still love to read now because of her,” Hillery said. “I know how satisfying that has been for her.
“People have just been super-wonderful and everyone is just so overwhelmed by the kindness of people,” she said. “It’s really been something to experience.”
The fundraiser runs until Saturday, Feb. 28, and is asking for $20 donations. Donations can be made online or checks can be made payable to Mike Rodgers and mailed c/o Ashleigh Schroeder, 808 Taylor Ave., Godfrey IL 62035.