Church comes together to support local student

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UPDATE: Over $28,000 has been raised with checks still coming in, according to Pastor Mitch Hildebrandt.


PIEDMONT, S.D. - Kids raised money for one of their own as she battles cancer.

SHINE Kids held a benefit dinner for nine-year-old Peyton Raterman of Piedmont Valley Elementary School at Hills View Evangelical Free Church on Saturday.

More than 500 church-goers supported the Raterman family in their time of need. Contributors donated over $10,000 in goods for an auction fundraiser. Midway through the dinner, Peyton’s schoolmates displayed their love by performing in a flag routine.

Cancer shocked the Raterman family last year. Peyton injured her leg in October after falling down some stairs and was sent to Rapid City Regional Hospital. The next day, CT scans revealed that she had osteosarcoma – bone cancer – in her leg. Regional made arrangements to transfer Peyton to the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital in Minneapolis.

Despite months of undergoing three different types of chemotherapy, doctors had to amputate her leg up to the hip.

Chad Raterman, Peyton’s father, said the event brought a positive surprise to the family.

"I thought I had the wrong place. There were so many cars in the parking lot,” Raterman said. “When I stepped into the building, I was overwhelmed. There's so many people that came out to support Peyton. It's absolutely amazing."

Peyton was in Minneapolis and could not attend the dinner. Ryan Baumiller, a fourth-grader, said everyone cannot wait to see her.

“I think she’s going to be pretty happy,” said Baumiller. “I think she’s going to be excited.”

Morgan Langstraat, Peyton's friend, demonstrated great compassion for her friend.

"I love her and I want the best for her,” Langstraat said. “I just want success in her life and to make this a growing point for her.”

Organizers capped-off the night by dumping green slime on church pastors.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will go to the Raterman family.

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