Students raise money for brother of classmate fighting rare form of pediatric cancer

Students at a local middle school rallied together and helped to raise funds for a child battling cancer.
Izzy Qazi, 8, is in the fight of his life against a rare form of pediatric cancer. The illness is known as Stage 4 embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma.
Embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma is a soft tissue cancer. Izzy was diagnosed in February. Health experts say that there are only 300 cases of this form of cancer in the United States per year.
The boy is currently on a 54-week chemotherapy treatment plan and his family is feeling the financial strain. Enter the students at Von E. Mauger Middle School in Middlesex. Izzy’s 14-year-old brother, Frank Martielli, is a student there.
“Frank came to our DoSomething meeting – the first meeting – and he said, ‘Can we do something for my brother?’” says DoSomething Club coordinator Elizabeth Tamargo.
Through the club, the students at the school were able to raise more than $5,000 to help Izzy and his family cover some of the costs of his cancer treatments.
“I have six kids at home, so it’s hard. The beginning was really hard,” says Izzy’s mother, Kimberlee Shamaa.
In addition to the funds raised, the teachers at the middle school donated Christmas gifts for Izzy and his five siblings.
“It made me feel good,” says Frank Martielli. “My brother deserves it for all the stuff he’s been through.”
Kimberlee Shamaa has also started a GoFundMe page to help with medical and travel costs. It has raised around $6,000.
The family says that they also want to raise awareness around embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma.
Izzy will continue to fight. He has a scan day coming up soon and at least one more surgery.