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Students host benefit for classmate

DLHS senior Derek Long, center, shares some laughs with his fellow seniors during a benefit kickball game at the Rec Park Wednesday afternoon. Brian Basham/Record

After a day of raking leaves, cleaning windows, picking up yards, parks and ditches and doing some painting, seniors at Detroit Lakes High School decided to continue the day of caring to a friend and his family.

Dubbed the Long Day of Caring, hundreds of students and adults came out Wednesday afternoon to not only give monetarily, but to show their support for senior Derek Long and his family.

Long’s mother has been diagnosed with stage 4 terminal colon cancer.

“It’s a good way to give back to the family,” classmate Emma Wood said.

“And show support,” classmate Emily Payne added.

“That’s the main thing,” classmate Stephen Erb said of supporting his friend. “We’re out here having fun with our buddy.”

“And coming together as a senior class,” Payne said.

Wednesday evening with filled with music, food and drinks and games. There were relay games for everyone, but the highlight was a senior boys versus senior girls game of kickball.

The twist was that the boys had a handicap with each round. For instance, one round they couldn’t use their thumbs at all. Another round, they were blindfolded when they kicked.

So though they were there for a serious matter, they were there to have fun as well.

“It’s been a long day, and that’s the point of it,” Payne said.

“It’s definitely more fun than going home after practice,” Erb added.

To help the Long family, people can send donations made out to Steve Long and sent to Lori Velde, 13109 Merry Meadow Lane, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.