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ESJ alumni host ‘Touchdown Against Cancer’ ; Class of 1997, 1998 & 1999 raise money to help classmates

RESERVE — East St. John High School’s Class of 1997, 1998 and 1999 are coming together to ease the burden of three classmates battling cancer.

The alumni will support Sherri Wallace, Kelli Jackson and Juan Coleman with a “Touchdown Against Cancer” benefit supper to be held Saturday, Sept. 18 at New Rescue Mission Baptist Church, located at 361 E. 14th Street in Reserve. Pre-orders are being accepted through Wednesday, Sept. 15.

A donation of $10 will pay for a delicious plate lunch containing a choice of pastalaya with fried chicken or turkey necks, corn, potatoes and sausage. Delivery is available on orders of $50 or more, and dinners will be sold from 11 a.m. until all food is gone.

The fundraiser began with a conversation between Ryshique Williams and Tamara August. While brainstorming ways to help their 1997 classmate, Sherri Wallace, they realized Kelli Jackson, Class of 1998, and Juan Coleman, Class of 1999, were also in need of support in their respective journeys against cancer.

With the COVID-19 pandemic already placing financial constraints on families, the classmates knew they needed to band together to relieve the burden of medical expenses on these three individuals who have done so much for the community.

Wallace works as a police officer, Jackson has given back to the elderly at Twin Oaks Nursing Home, and Coleman served his country as a United States Marine.

All proceeds of the Touchdown Against Cancer Benefit Supper will be divided equally among the three.

The alumni committee organizing the fundraiser consists of Williams and August, Class of ’97; Tiffany Butler and Miranda Joseph, Class of ’98; and Kiana Gauff and Lynol Gauff, Class of ’99.

“We don’t ever know when we will be in a situation where we need help. All of us were at East St. John together, so we are very well acquainted with each other. Instead of just focusing on one person, we decided to focus on all of them,” Williams said.

She added that the event is not just for East St. John alumni.

“We want the community support. You have West St. John; you have Riverside; you have St. Charles. We’re all one. We came together for the high school graduation last year when COVID shut us down, so let’s do it again. Let’s come together as a community,” she said.

The alumni are in need of donations to assist in purchasing supplies. Businesses can support the cause through sponsorships or by displaying the benefit dinner flyer.

“Sherri and Kelli have children in college, and Juan has a 17-year-old daughter graduating this year. If we could just help buy books for their kids, then it’s worth it. They are appreciative of whatever they get,” Williams said. “We can’t take the burden completely away, but just to make it a little bit better is the goal.”

August said the alumni committee has opened a bank account to accept donations. Please contact a committee member for more information. Donations can also be submitted through CashApp, Venmo, PayPal or through drop-off to a committee member’s house.

To place an order or make a donation, please email esjhalumni979899@gmail.com or reach out to one of the following committee members: Ryshique – 225-281-8673, Tamara – 985-789-9735, Tiffany- 504-450-2639, or Lynol – 985-210-4573.