4th-grader works to help sick classmate

Bella Feinzig, 9, is raising money for a classmate diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer.

A Mount Pleasant fourth-grader is working to help a sick classmate fulfill a dream.

Bella Feinzig of Mount Pleasant attends Pinckney Elementary School with Ethen Richardson, a fellow fourth-grader battling a rare brain cancer that doctors say gives him maybe a year to live. His touching story, along with a James Island boy with the same condition, was featured on the front page of Sunday's Post and Courier.

Bella had heard about Ethen's condition at school. She decided to raise $1,000 so Ethen could do something he wants, such as take a trip someplace, she said.

The 9-year-old made chocolate chip cookies, bracelets and flower pens and set up a stand in Charleston National last weekend, when the temperatures were dropping below freezing. She raised more than $200 in two hours.

She was back out there Sunday afternoon - the weather fortunately more balmy this time - a poster board with the newspaper article in front of her table. Her dad, Jack Feinzig, was offering some of the golf balls that had been hit into his yard to anyone who made a donation.

"It was her idea," he said of the project.

Bella was the one who talked to golfers, pedestrians and motorists who stopped to ask what she was doing. Most of them gave her all the money they were carrying. Many cried. By the end of the day, she had raised more than $600.

Bella plans to set up her stand at National Drive and Victory Pointe Drive from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 2 p.m. the following Monday, MLK Day.

She plans to give a check to Ethen through his teacher. Bella said she hopes her donation will inspire others to do what they can to help as well.

"We have been following Ethen's story for about five months" said her mother, Joye Feinzig. "Our heart goes out to Ethen and his entire family."

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.