Campaign to help Carson High freshman with cancer

Carson High School senior Nate Thornton, left, is holding a community kindness campaign for freshman Chris Coulam, who was diagnosed with primary central nervous lymphoma in October. (Photo: Jessica Garcia/Nevada Appeal)

Carson High School senior Nate Thornton, left, is holding a community kindness campaign for freshman Chris Coulam, who was diagnosed with primary central nervous lymphoma in October. (Photo: Jessica Garcia/Nevada Appeal)

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Chris Coulam’s doctors thought he was experiencing vertigo when his family took him into a clinic last October after he woke up with nausea and dizziness. But he was diagnosed on a Monday with primary central nervous lymphoma and went in for 18-hour brain surgery the following Thursday.
“I wasn’t getting any better,” said the Carson High student. “I went to the hospital. I got surgery and started doing chemo(therapy) in Reno.”
The effort was to help remove two tumors, one of which was encasing a major blood vessel to his brain, Amanda Coulam, his mother, said Monday.
Now, as Chris Coulam, 14, undergoes his treatment, his friends, Carson High seniors Nate Thornton and Ethne Myler are holding a community campaign through Sunday to support him and to encourage “Kindness for Chris” in his battle against lymphoma.
“From today until next Sunday the 13th, we’ve challenged our friends in Carson City to participate in an act of service toward another person at least once a day,” Thornton said Monday. “So, a few examples of that, like doing something like an act of kindness, compliments, leaving positive notes, anything like that. And then we’ve asked people to take photos of doing the service with the result of the service and send it to us so we can put it in a collage (for Chris).”
Photos will be posted on an Instagram page at the tag @kindnessforchris or #kindnessforchris.
Thornton on Monday said he received a photo of a junior at Carson High who went around to the school’s vending machines and paid for everyone’s beverages.
And then “they left money on the vending machines so people could get whatever they want,” he said.
One of Thornton’s friends was creative in their own home with their act of kindness by leaving heart-shaped sticky notes.
“We called it ‘heart attacking,’” he said.
Thornton, who attends the same church and young men’s class as Chris, said he had been on his mind a lot once he was diagnosed. They enjoy mutual hobbies together outside of school, including playing video games.
“I was thinking about what I could do to help and it kind of hit me, I guess, a little inspiration, and I was thinking about how we could show Chris support for him and I know there are a lot of people in the community who want to help him and love him,” Thornton said.
The focus is to make it a service-oriented campaign and not necessarily for financial collection for the Coulams, although he said the possibility won’t be excluded if community members feel compelled to give as their act of kindness.
“We’re focused on service for this but that does not exclude giving,” he said. “We’ve encouraged people, if that’s the way they show service, to donate to charities, absolutely.”
Myler, a senior who also has known Chris from church, described him as a “sweet boy” whose cancer came as a complete shock to her.
“I think I felt I’ve always wanted to help people with this kind of situation,” she said. “I just felt it was right and I knew it was inspired and that it was divine inspiration. There’s not a lot we can do. We can’t cure cancer. I wish we could. But kindness and service have a power that just connects us to heaven, I believe.”
Amanda Coulam was grateful for the inspiring acts growing in the past few days, calling her son a “real trooper.”
The Coulam family, including Coulam’s husband, Jeff, and Chris’ siblings, Jake, 16, Abby, 11, and Nick, 9, have spent most of the recent major holidays in Renown Regional Medical Center as Chris has received his treatments, including 27 blood transfusions, Amanda said. She added blood donations would be another act of kindness by those who are willing.
Thornton also added this Friday, March 11, another campaign will be held with friends and community members encouraged to wear lime green, the official color for lymphoma, in support of Chris. Green also is Chris’ favorite color.
“I think it’s exciting how it’s taken off,” Amanda Coulam said. “Anything positive coming from this is a great thing. I’m really excited it’s doing so well already. And people have embraced it and we’re doing it all for Chris.”
Photos of acts of service for the campaign should be submitted by 5 p.m. Sunday.


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