ROSEBORO — During a Wednesday dance at Roseboro Elementary School, students were full of energy when songs like “Cupid Shuffle” and “Hit the Quan” boomed from the speakers.
In between the catchy tunes, they paused and “dabbed” for a fellow schoolmate — Ryan Daeshaun “DaeDae” Oates. The event and fundraiser was held for the fourth-grade student, who is currently battling adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), a disease which affects the central nervous system.
“We just wanted to reach out to the family because we know it’s been hard,” Principal Tonya Colwell said. “Ryan means so much to us and his classmates. We wanted to do something to show that we love and support him, and help fight this disease.”
ALD causes damage to the myelin sheath, which insulates the membrane surrounding nerve cells in the brain. The life-threatening disease, mostly effects boys and men.
After being diagnosed a couple of years ago with ALD, DaeDae received a bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy treatments to slow the progression. In December, he returned from the hospital at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, after receiving medical attention for a long period of time. DaeDae had to be airlifted back to Chapel Hill for complications at the beginning of 2017. He was sent home several days ago.
To help DaeDae with his fight, Roseboro Elementary began the “Dabbin 4 DaeDae” campaign. He’s a big fan of Carolina Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton, who made the dab popular during game celebrations. The social media hashtag for support is #TeamDaeshaun.
So far, Roseboro Elementary raised more than $1,600 to support the family.
“We’ve had kids and parents bring in money,” Colwell said about the assistance. “It’s been awesome. It’s been an outpouring of love and we really appreciate it.”
Along with financial donations, the young students have also been supportive by sending him cards and videos with well-wishes. Teachers and family members wore T-shirts for DaeDae during the special day.
“It’s to show our love,” Colwell said while taking a break from the dance. “We’ll record some of it on video and we’ll share with him.”
DaeDae’s fourth-grade classmates, Kaycie White and Jordan Lewis, are just a couple of the students showing support through his illness. They hope he recovers soon.
“I know he would be happy and excited,” Kaycie said about the dance held in honor of DaeDae.
Jordan shared the same sentiments. She enjoyed playing tag with him during their kindergarten and first-grade years.
“He was very loud and energetic,” Jordan said while describing his warm personality.
Cafeteria Manager Ashley Melvin added that DaeDae is always happy whenever she sees him.
“He always has a bright smile,” Melvin said.
Colwell said that DaeDae’s family and parents, Conswella and Keith Oates, are being strong throughout the ordeal.
“It’s amazed me how strong they’ve really been,” Colwell said.
Roseboro Elementary is currently accepting donations to help the family with medical and travel expenses. The school is located at 180 Butler Island Road, Roseboro. For more information, school officials may be reached at 910-525-4538. DaeDae’s supporters also set up group on Facebook. It can be accessed by typing “#TeamDaeshaun” in the search bar for groups.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.