As Antonius Acre and his mother sat in the gymnasium Friday at Yukon High School, dozens of people worked to raise money.
A group of athletes jumped into an ice water-filled trough, another student was covered in ice cream, two others had their heads shaved and a teacher had peanut butter licked from her toes by a bulldog. Even the sponsor, golf coach Jamie Tate, got involved by auctioning off having his beard shaved by students.
It was all part of an effort to raise money for Acre, an eighth-grade student at Yukon Middle School.
The 14-year-old was diagnosed in 2013 with a form of Muscular Dystrophy. He lost the use of his legs about two years ago and now is confined to a wheelchair.
Friday was the wrap-up of Yukon Public School’s MILL Week, which stands for Millers Improving Local Lives.
The event was previously known as Wish Week. At that time, it benefited Oklahoma’s Make-A-Wish Program.
A change was made this year so that the funds raised by various activities would benefit a local family.
The result was that almost $38,000 was raised for the Acres, the school announced during the closing ceremony.
That number includes the donation of a 2007 Buick van that is handicapped accessible.
The van was donated by a local resident.
The van needed a little work, Tate said, but even that was donated.
The effort, said Shannon Acre, will help the family be a family.
Because Antonius is restricted to a wheelchair and the family had was a traditional car, they often had to take multiple vehicles when they travel.
In addition, they really couldn’t use Antonius’s motorized wheelchair because of its weight.
This donation changes everything, Shannon Acre said.
“I am shocked,” she said.
The money, not including almost $1,000 that was raised during the closing ceremony, will be used to help cover medical expenses related to a recent spinal surgery.
“It’s the biggest blessing we’ve ever received,” Shannon said.
She also said she was surprised by both donations.
Tate said the results from MILL Week were better than expected.
“This is the most we’ve ever raised,” he said.
Tate also said donations are continuing to come in. Several restaurants hosted MILL Week events for which the receipts have not been received.
The money will be deposited into a special account set up for the family, he said.
“This has been everything we wanted in philanthropy week. It was good to see how the schools work together. It’s something we’ve never gotten to experience on this scale before,” he said.