The community gives back to the Swihart family


Courtesy of Kara Swihart

Seniors Jacob and Kara Swihart laugh with their mother Jenny before she is scheduled to have brain surgery. The school community helped fund the surgery and continue to support the family. “I have received a lot of support from my coaches, peers and people all over the community,” Jacob said.

After their mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor Jan. 2, seniors Kara Swihart and Jacob Swihart set up a Go Fund Me for the surgery, which raised $15,000 in five days, and continue to receive support from the school community.

“I would never imagined it would get this far, and I am entirely grateful to the West community,” Jacob said. “Our mom just gives and gives and it was her turn to receive something back.”

Jenny Swihart awoke in the middle of the night experiencing a partial seizure lasting four hours. She was taken to the hospital and after a CT scan, they discovered a large tumor on the left side of her brain.

“It was a shock and it was really hard in the beginning, but we have been blessed with this level of support–we didn’t expect much,” Jacob said.

The Swihart children hoped to raise $5,000. Five days after the Go Fund Me was posted, they more than tripled that amount.

“It has made me very appreciative to the community, and it has brought to my attention that people really do care about each other even if they aren’t the best of friends,” Kara said.

As athletes, Kara and Jacob received ongoing support from their mom but have now come to realize how much support they also have from their teammates, coaches and fellow athletes’ families.

“My mom never missed any games,” Kara said. “Since the surgery, with the scar and her being bald, she really doesn’t want to go anywhere, so that will be hard, but I have received amazing support from the entire basketball program.”

Jenny is a preschool teacher in the Rockwood School District and her husband Will is a sixth grade science teacher at West Middle School.

“My parents have impacted so many families’ lives, and with my dad being a West Middle School teacher, it changes the way people view my family because of how much my parents give,” Kara said.

After a successful surgery Jan. 10, the Kara and Jacob have still not forgotten how much the the school community has given back to their family.

“I have just gotten support from all over the area, [which has] a huge impact on me, and I am so thankful to all these people that helped me and my family,” Jacob said.