"He is just a modern-day Superman!" says Justin Fabus of Shawn O'Donnell, his former social studies teacher at Keystone Oaks High School who has cancer.
"He would do anything for his students ... I know I wouldn't be where I am with my music if it were not for his help."
Now Fabus has an opportunity to give back to the man who so inspired him by performing his own brand of country music with his Justin Fabus Band at a benefit concert Saturday, Oct. 1, at 7 p.m. at Michael A. Callera Auditorium at Keystone Oaks High School. Donations of $5 will be collected at the door. Proceeds will benefit the O'Donnell family.
O'Donnell has been battling inoperable colon and liver cancer since last May and has been in and out of area hospitals. Although he is not currently teaching after nearly 20 years with the district, he remains an important part of the KO community. Scott Hagy, high school principal and friend of O'Donnell, said in a press release that although the events are not sponsored by the school district, it is emblematic of the generosity of the people who live in the Keystone Oaks community.
"The KO community is comprised of so many wonderful people and I'm touched with the amount of care so many people have demonstrated in planning these fundraising events for Shawn and his family during such a difficult period for them."
Students have gotten together to both honor and support O'Donnell—"OD" as he is nicknamed. The concert will culminate a series of fundraising events by students at the high school, called "KO Fights Cancer-No One Fights Alone."
Monday and Tuesday, the Golden Eagles girls volleyball team, is sponsoring bake sales during all high school lunch periods and selling "No One Fights Alone" T-shirts ($10) and emerald-green (the official color for liver cancer) bracelets ($2).
All the gate receipts from the team's Monday, Sept. 26, game against Carrick and its Tuesday, Sept. 27, game against Montour will go to the O'Donnell family. Junior varsity plays at 6 p.m. and varsity games are at 7 p.m.
O'Donnell and his wife, Tina, are the parents of four young children—Nathan, Alex, Brayden and Mia—and have lived in Cranberry Township for nine years. The O'Donnell family also has been named as this year's "Inspirational Family" and beneficiaries of the (Community Uniting People), which raises money to support Cranberry-area charities and families in need.