Fifth-grader Dalton Umphrey was diagnosed with Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma in late 2010, but his cancer has since gone into remission.
Dalton's condition led to a support team at the school and in the community called Team Dalton, as well as gained the support of a first-grade classroom in New York.
"This feels really cool and it's all in my honor," Dalton said.
Dalton's grandmother, Candy McElroy, explained that Dalton's cousin, Karli Zalewski -- a first-grader at Southern Tier Catholic School in Olean, N.Y. -- recently experienced a cancer-related death in her family. Upon hearing Dalton was diagnosed with cancer, Karli shared the story of Team Dalton with her class.
"They wrote a big letter and sent individual cards and asked if they could be the New York branch of Team Dalton," mother Rebecca Rowe said.
Through the video conferencing computer application Skype, members of Dalton's family and his classmates were able to see and speak to the students in New York.
"It really touched the school in a lot of ways," assistant principal Amy Goff said. "Once [the connection] was up and going and working, it was such an amazing thing to be able to connect the two classrooms that clearly have had a connection. ... and now this technology links them together and was able to make that visual connection through the technology component."
Dalton lost his hair during chemotherapy treatments, but it is growing back. Karli's teacher, Sheila Freeman, showed her support for Dalton and childhood cancer by cutting 20-inches of hair live during the video conference to be donated to Locks of Love.
"[Cutting her hair] was just an extreme display of support," Goff said.
The students in New York laughed and waved with the students at HCES, and even had a surprise for Dalton -- the news they planned to publish a book about his experience with cancer.
"You're Super Dalton," Karli said, smiling into the camera.
She said the family wants to support the community and others that offered its support in multiple ways -- whether someone dropped off a hot meal or simply offered kind words.
"[Supporting others] is especially important right now with the tornado damage," Rowe said. "People don't realize how one little gesture can make such a difference."
Rowe said Dalton did his part during the recent annual St. Baldricks Foundation fundraiser, where he helped family friend Dr. Jeff Esslinger of Cartersville raise more than $7,000 for childhood cancer.
Dalton offered words for a friend in Acworth going through the same type of cancer.
"I want to tell him everything is going to be OK because I've been through it and I'm fine," Dalton said. "And I want to thank the people who have been following my story, it's a big help knowing people are there supporting me."
Goff said the video conference was a learning experience for both classrooms.
"These students had an opportunity, even across the nation, to learn about cancer, it's impact on people's lives, and until you have any type of experience with it, you don't realize the impact it can have on everyone around," Goff said. "I think it was neat to give [students] that experience and to show the kids here at Hamilton [Crossing Elementary] what kind of support [can be gained] across the nation with the help of something so simple as a Skype connection or technology."