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Malabar's campaign to help stricken custodian tops $2,000

   Malabar Intermediate School has raised more than $2,000 for a former custodian diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

   Guidance counselor Tim Grassel said today the school’s Coins for Connie campaign yielded $2,218.67 to benefit Connie Jacobs.

   The total includes contributions to homeroom boxes decorated by students and other donations by faculty and staff.

   It also includes $240 paid by teacher Brad Strong as the winner of an in-school auction of a table built by custodian Ron Daily. The table was constructed of wood from the Malabar gym bleachers that had to be trimmed when a walkway was installed.

   Jacobs, an assistant custodian who worked the night shift, learned several months ago that she had ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. It has caused her to have difficulty communicating verbally.

   The goal of Coins for Connie was to raise funds for interactive software that will allow Jacobs to communicate by touching picture icons. The software can be used on a smart phone or an iPad.

   Although Jacobs’ diagnosis was confirmed several months ago she continued working until the end of September.

   Last week, head custodian Jennifer Vanderpool praised Jacobs for her commitment and perseverance.

   “Connie has to be one of the best people I’ve ever had work with me. She always gave 100 percent, 100 percent of the time,” Vanderpool said.

   “Connie was totally diagnosed maybe five months ago. Through it all, she never missed a day of work. She had (medical) appointments, but she never missed a day.”

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