A high school came together to help 19-year-old Karen Barrientos beat cancer. Her classmates organized a massive dodge ball tournament to raise money for her care.
Barrientos received a standing ovation as her fellow high school students wrap up their final dodge ball games in their campaign called "Dodging Cancer for Karen."
Hundreds of students and staff filled the Troy High School gym Friday dressed in purple for Karen - recently out of school and getting treatment after being diagnosed with stage three Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"It made my heart feel like it was going to burst," said student Jordan Hendry. "I was so happy, but also so sad for her. I was happy that she was able to make it."
Although Karen was overcome by emotion when asked what it meant to see the turnout of support, her future sister in law, Luda Krybchenko, summed it up.
"It was definitely overwhelming for all of us," Krybchenko said.
Each grade tossed and dodged balls since Monday raising money, as students and staff paid to watch and play.
"She can't believe it," Krybchenko said. "All of these people, people that she's never even known have been so kind. It's really touched her, changed her."
And the donations have poured in locally and even from out of state. The school's goal of $20,000 has nearly been reached. The donations were at $8,000 Wednesday and by Friday, it was at more than $18,000 going to help Karen. Much of that, raised by these students.
As the juniors win it all, receiving their medals after even beating the teachers, Karen also received her own token of love and support.
Everyone agreed the real winner, the real fighter here, is Karen, as she and her family thank everyone who has helped bring these tears of pure joy to her eyes.
You can still donate to help Karen and her family by sending or dropping off donations to Troy High School, 4777 Northfield Parkway, Troy, 48098. You can also stop by and buy purple bracelets for a $5 donation.