Student’s community service project is personal

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By Ryan Conley

Andrew Lentini couldn’t idly stand by and watch a loved one suffer, so he decided to walk…or at least get others to walk with him in raising beneficial funds for a struggling family.

Lentini, a Shelby County resident who is an eighth-grader at Eminence Independent School, has organized a benefit 5k run/walk to raise funds for extended family member Troy Capps, who is suffering from the effects of stage-IV lung cancer.

“When my mom told me that Troy had cancer, I said I wanted to do it,” Lentini, 14, said of Capps, who is the husband of his father’s cousin. “It’s not fair that he’s sick. And I wanted to help.”

Lentini for months had been searching for a meaningful “Service Learning” community services project required by his school, and because he previously had participated in benefit walk/runs for his local Boy Scout troop (No. 164), it was an easy choice for him to implement.

“It’s a lot harder than what I expected, but the community has really helped a lot with donations and stuff,” he said.

Capps, who lives in Louisville, was diagnosed about four months ago, said Lentini’s mother, Sherrie. It was a shock to the family, because Capps, 44, never had smoked, exercised regularly (playing basketball and running) and generally maintained a healthy lifestyle.

“We hate the fact that we are having to do this because it means that someone is sick, but the outpouring has been overwhelming,” she said. “It has touched home, and it is personal, so it has been a bit of emotional roller-coaster ride. But in the midst of tears, the community and family and friends have opened their hearts.”

Raised funds will be used to help offset medical bills and medications for Capps, who has undergone radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Some of the treatments are performed at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Lending organizing help along the way were Andrew’s English teacher at Eminence, Jennifer Montgomery, who is his “Service Learning” coordinator, and his scoutmaster, Bob Green of Shelby County.

“He has had a lot of support around him,” Sherrie said.

Interested patrons can register Saturday before the walk/run begins. Other events include a silent auction featuring such items as tickets for University of Kentucky and University of Louisville basketball games and box seats at Churchill Downs.


More info

WHAT: 5K walk/run to benefit cancer victim Troy Capps.

WHERE: Clear Creek Park.

WHEN: 2 p.m., Saturday. Registration begins at 1: 30 p.m. at the Birch House.


NOTES: There will also be a silent auction and benefit chili dinner at the Birch House following the walk/run. For more information, contact Sherrie Lentini at (502) 643-0176.