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Canistota Is Able For Their Abel

Canistota, S.D. - On Tuesday night in eastern KELOLAND, a community came out in droves for a little boy in need of a heart transplant. 

Six-year-old Abel Dolney of Canistota needs a transplant because the left ventricle of his heart didn't grow as it should have. He's been through three open-heart surgeries. And Tuesday he's at the Sanford Children's Hospital dealing with pneumonia. Tuesday night at the Canistota school, the community showed what this little boy means to them.

From a soup dinner, to bingo, to bouncy houses, raffles and a silent auction, all proceeds from this event titled "We Are Abel" go to the boy's family. Dustin Evenson of Mitchell, whose daughter is in Abel's class, isn't surprised by the turnout.

"I kind of expect to see a few more too, shortly, as people get home from work and get cleaned up and come up here," Evenson said.

"Abel is the sweetest, sweetest student in the entire world," Bailley Olson said. "He's happy, kind, caring, hilarious, witty, he's everything, and we love him and support him and care for him."

Olson would know- she's Abel's kindergarten teacher and helped organize Tuesday night's event.

"His family is amazing, to know we can help them in whatever way that's possible, and right now it's by donations and this awesome event," Olson said. "It's amazing."

"Neither my husband or myself are originally from Canistota, so I feel very blessed that we picked Canistota as our community when we got married, because the outpouring of support for him has just been amazing," Abel's mother Brianna Dolney said.

"This is a great community," Evenson said. "I lived here for a while, and, just, they rally around anybody."

Abel's mom is left speechless when it comes to describing how it feels to receive this support.

"I don't know that there are words to express it," Brianna Dolney said. "It's, some people, we don't even know, but everybody around town knows Abel, and everybody just, they love him and his can-do attitude and just how care-free he is."

If you'd like to give to this cause, you can send a donation to the school

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