Alden Intermediate School students and faculty were #TJStrong today as they came together to root for Thomas “TJ” Ackley, 10, who is battling terminal cancer. The school held an assembly and released blue balloons into the air while his classmates cheered “TJ! TJ! TJ!”
“I don’t think I can tell you how this makes me feel. I cried tears of joy seeing his face light up,” said Kerry Miller, TJ’s mom. “It is amazing to see how much our small town can show so much support. They are our family and we are happy to be part of them.”
TJ’s principal echoed these sentiments saying that students and faculty spend so much time together that they are like a great big family and it’s important for everyone to be there for each other.
“Earlier this year TJ got really sick and he continues to battle and I thought it was important for us to come together as a school to make sure TJ knows that we support him and his family and that we care about him as part of our school family,” said Principal John Mikulski before he announced the releasing of the balloons in honor of TJ.
Each blue balloon read TJ Strong and had a muscle on it to show how strong TJ and his family have been throughout his battle with cancer. It also represents all the people who have supported the family by offering their thoughts and prayers and words of encouragement.
“Today we release these balloons so they can fly off and they can disperse and eventually they will land and someone will take a look at it and we will be sharing TJ’s story and those people will be thinking about TJ as well giving him strength and support,” said Mikulski.
Every single student at Alden Intermediate School took time to write a thoughtful note for TJ, which was delivered to his family today. Students hope the cards will make him a little better when he’s having a rough day.