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The ELCO boy’s basketball team raised about $860 for Jariel Hiraldo, a student battling a stage 4 brain tumor, through a special donation at recent varsity and junior varsity basketball games against the Northern Lebanon basketball team.

According to his GoFundMe page, Hiraldo was suffering from what doctors believed to be a migraine during the holiday season. At the beginning of the new year, he started to have intense head pain and a seizure.

Following an operation and biopsy, Hiraldo learned he had stage 4 brain cancer.

As of the most recent update, Hiraldo was staying in Philadelphia to receive radiation treatments, which unexpectedly separated him from his support system: his father, niece and nephew, and friends.

Brad Conners, the ELCO boy’s basketball coach, spoke with LebTown about what the community is doing to support the 15-year-old.

“I think it either came to me in an email, or we saw something shared on Facebook that Jariel was diagnosed with brain cancer,” Conners said. “And the Lebanon basketball community was kind of looking to do something, looking to get together and maybe help out, and that’s how I first learned about it.”

Conners described his relationship with Hiraldo, a freshman at Lebanon High School who enjoyed playing basketball before undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

“As far as me and my contact with Jariel, I kind of recognize his face. I never really had a chance to coach against him or with him or anything like that,” Conners said. “But, it was just something we felt like as a community, as a basketball community, that we wanted to become involved and help out and do what we could.”

Conners specifically mentioned the role that Carrie Boyer, the ELCO boy’s basketball booster club president, played in raising awareness about Hiraldo’s cancer battle and consequently raising funds to support him.

“She kind of took the reins from there and decided that she was going to share something on Facebook. So, she shared something on Facebook that we, as a basketball team, would look to sponsor or to ask for donations on Jariel’s behalf,” Conners said.

The document that was created about Hiraldo’s cancer battle and shared on Facebook. (Provided by Brad Conners)

“From there, it was just the community then showing up to the games and supporting and feeling compelled to give.”

In addition to the funds raised at the basketball games, local organizations contacted the ELCO boy’s basketball team and booster club to ask if they could make donations.

“There was one organization in particular that actually donated like $600 directly to the family,” Conners said.

To those interested in supporting Hiraldo in his cancer battle, Conners said, “I’m not sure where they’re at right now, but if anybody wanted to make a donation on his behalf … if they wanted to contact me or contact our booster club, we would be happy to make sure that money got funneled in the right direction.”

Conners can be reached via email at bconners@elcosd.org or via phone at 717-866-7447 Extension 2200.

Conners said that he is “just really proud of the ELCO community coming together to support Jariel and his battle with a stage 4 brain tumor. It’s a really close-knit community, and [I] was not surprised at all.”

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Lexi Gonzalez

Lexi Gonzalez is a reporter for LebTown. She is currently completing her bachelor's degree at Lebanon Valley College.


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