GIBRALTAR: Carlson student loses her battle with cancer

GIBRALTAR: Carlson student loses her battle with cancer

Carlson student Gina Gerow was supported by her fellow classmates as she battled cancer.

GIBRALTAR — Students at Carlson High School made heart symbols with their hands in a show of love for one of their fellow schoolmates battling ovarian cancer during a surprise assembly in November.

Their hearts were broken July 7 with news that their classmate, Gina Gerow, had died.

She was 18.

Gerow’s sister, Mary, along with friends Elise Masland and Kelsey Ciszewski, helped organize the event last fall that showered her with gifts from students and staff.

T-shirts were made for the assembly that said “Cancer has no friends, but Gina does.” They were worn by the majority of the students in the audience.

Services for the teenager were held Tuesday at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Gibraltar.

School Supt. Bruce Burger said it was standing room only to honor the life of one of Carlson’s most popular students.

He said he received a text message about Gerow’s death and then other messages followed.

He said the number of people who came to the service was impressive, noting that the choir loft was opened for those still in need of a seat.

Although school is out for the summer, Burger said grief counselors were made available at the Gil Talbert Community Center after the service for students in need of assistance in dealing with their loss. Continued…

“She was a very well-loved young lady,” Burger said. “She was a fighter and she was bound and determined to let her senior year be her senior year.”

The day Gerow died, Burger said, he decided to wear one of the T-shirts made in support of her as he went for a walk. He said he received the news shortly after.

Several students wore the personalized shirts to the funeral.

Burger said he appreciated comments made by Gerow’s grandmother and grandfather at the service. He said they expressed their gratitude for all of the things the school did for Gerow.

When students approached Carlson Principal Bill Stevenson with the idea of putting on the surprise assembly, he set the event in motion.

Gerow’s parents, grandparents and members of the Board of Education attended the assembly.

At the time, Stevenson called the school “fortunate and blessed” to have such a caring community, and said the world will be a better place when such compassionate students become adults.

He also said he believes Carlson is the top school in southeastern Michigan in raising money for a cure for cancer.

“I am very proud of that,” he said in November.

Burger said he was moved by the comments made at the funeral by Dave Brockington, the school’s band director. Continued…

Gerow, who played French horn, was an active member of the band. Brockington said she had been playing in band since she was in the fifth grade.

In fact, Gerow thought she was coming to the auditorium for band practice when the surprise assembly was held.

Students cheered as she opened each gift given to comfort her while she underwent treatment.

The band also played several songs, including the school fight song. At that time, Brockington expressed having a lot of pride in his 115-member band, which played from the heart for Gerow.

The band also sponsored a concert as a fundraiser for her.

“I am so proud to be a part of a school system with these kind of relationships,” Burger said.

Contact Staff Writer Jackie Harrison-Martin at 1-734-246-0837 or Follow her on Facebook and @JackieMartin22 on Twitter.


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GIBRALTAR: Carlson student loses her battle with cancer

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