Sioux Falls, SD
A lot of people feel like going to the movies is a waste of time, but seeing "Finding Dory" next week at a local school could help save a woman who is cherishing every minute she has.
Cathy Rykhus is a beloved educational assistant at Susan B. Anthony Elementary in Sioux Falls. She loves her students, but has not been able to work at the school since before Christmas break. As health problems continue to take a toll, her students are trying to help.
The expression, "Kids should be seen and not heard," is lost on Rykhus. To her, the buzz of students is a happy sound.
"They're very special little friends," Rykhus said.
Sadly, the educational assistant who helps boys and girls learn cannot be at school right now.
"Those are the grand dogs. There are my two daughters in one frame there," Rykhus said, pointing to framed pictures in her home.
Instead, she is at home, quietly waiting for the sound of a second chance.
"My phone is on all the time, in case I get that phone call," Rykhus said.
Rykhus hopes to hear that a kidney is available. 15 years ago, she found out she has a kidney disease called IgA nephropathy.
"It actually was kind of a fluke how I found out. I was in for some blood work. Routine blood work and they called me and said, 'We've got a problem,'" Rykhus said.
Both kidneys are failing. She is on a transplant list and has dialysis twice a day in her home. Even with insurance, the whole process of care and a transplant is expensive. That is why the Susan B. Anthony Parent Teacher Organization and her students are raising money for her with a special movie night.
"Those kids are so awesome and they want to help. It doesn't matter if you ask them for 50 cents or a dollar. They just really want to help," Rykhus said.
The promise of a new kidney gives this woman hope, but the kindness of everyone at Susan B. Anthony is not lost on Rykhus. She hopes they're listening because this is what gratitude sounds like.
"That makes me feel really special and I really feel like I'm a person there and I'm part of the team there," Rykhus said.
The movie fundraiser is Friday, February 24. It begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Susan B. Anthony gym. Boss' Pizza is providing food, and there is also a raffle. A free-will donation is welcome.
You can also make a donation to help Rykhus online.
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