"He is just a modern-day Superman!" Justin Fabus said of Shawn O'Donnell, his former social studies teacher at Keystone Oaks High School who has cancer.
"He would do anything for his students ... I know I wouldn't be where I am with my music if it were not for his help."
Now Fabus has an opportunity to give back to the man who so inspired him. Fabuswill perform his own brand of country music with his Justin Fabus Band at a benefit concert at 7 p.m. Saturday at Michael A. Callera Auditorium at Keystone Oaks High School. Donations of $5 will be collected at the door. Proceeds will benefit the O'Donnell family of Cranberry.
O'Donnell has been battling inoperable colon and liver cancer since May and has been in and out of area hospitals. Although he is no longer teaching, after nearly 20 years with the district, he remains an important part of the Keystone Oaks community. Scott Hagy, high school principal and friend of O'Donnell, said in a news release that although the school district is not sponsoring the benefit, it is emblematic of the generosity of the people who live in the Keystone Oaks community.
"The [Keystone Oaks] community is comprised of so many wonderful people, and I'm touched with the amount of care so many people have demonstrated in planning these fundraising events for Shawn and his family during such a difficult period for them," Hagy said.
Students have gotten together to honor and support O'Donnell—"OD" as he is nicknamed. The concert will culminate a series of fundraisers that students at the high school planned and called "KO Fights Cancer-No One Fights Alone."
Today, the Golden Eagles girls volleyball team is sponsoring bake sales during all high school lunch periods and selling "No One Fights Alone" T-shirts for $10 and emerald-green (the official color for liver cancer) bracelets for $2.
O'Donnell and his wife, Tina, are the parents of four young children—Nathan, Alex, Brayden and Mia—and have lived in Cranberry Township for nine years. The O'Donnell family also has been named as this year's "Inspirational Family" and beneficiaries of the 12th annual Cranberry CUP (Community Uniting People), which raises money to support Cranberry-area charities and families in need.