Students, friends hold dodgeball tournament fundraiser for Olathe principal diagnosed with cancer

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OLATHE, Kan. — Students, faculty and friends are rallying behind a beloved Olathe principal diagnosed with a new and rare form of cancer.

John Ernst, principal at Rolling Ridge Elementary School for the past seven years, was diagnosed with small cell neuroendocrine lung cancer.

On Saturday, multiple schools within the district came together to hold a unique dodge ball tournament to help their friend at Olathe West high school’s gymnasium.

“The showing of support has been amazing. I said to somebody, ‘I wish a tragedy didn’t have to happen like this in order for the show of support to happen. I wish all educators could see the impact they see day in and day out,'” Ernst said.

Fifty-five teams payed $25 each to participate, and more than 300 people attended.

All proceeds and donations benefited Ernst, his family and his ongoing battle with cancer.

“My wife and I have made a conscious effort to make sure people understand what neuroendocrine cancer is and that it’s a new cancer that people are just trying to figure out, and we would like to give back as much to research it and find out what causes it, just to help people like me and help as many people as much as we can,” Ernst said.

He said he’s overwhelmed by the community’s constant support.

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