'This is for you, Dylan'
RICH SMITH/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Lora and Dave Krum, parents of the late Dylan Krum, walk across Lehighton Area High School Athletic Field Friday, during Senior Night, in memory of their son.
When the students taking part in Lehighton's Senior Night walked across the football field on Friday, one member of the Class of 2014 was noticeably absent.
While Dylan Krum wasn't there to walk on Senior Night, he was still found among the football players, band members and cheerleaders in the senior class, where memories linger of a classmate taken far too early in life.
Dylan was diagnosed with pediatric follicular lymphoma, a rare cancer of the blood, in 2010 while in eighth grade at Lehighton Area Middle School. He lost his fight a few short months later, passing away before he could start his freshman year at Lehighton Area High School. He was 15 years old.
His parents, Lora and Dave Krum, were on the field to honor their son's memory.
"This would be Dylan's senior year," said Lora Krum earlier this week. "Senior Night would have been a milestone that we as parents would have participated in with him. We want his memory to live on, especially in places where he spent time and friendship with his classmates and band members."
She noted that Dylan played trumpet in the middle school concert and jazz bands and community bands, and was excited about joining the high school band.
"Band was his place to feel like he could be accepted, to be himself," said Lora. "It was a part of who he was, especially in his role as a student. He was really excited about registering for high school band."
Classmates rally behind Dylan
For members of the senior class, Senior Night is a chance to celebrate years of hard work in a sport or activity. It's a milestone that most seniors share with their parents, family and friends, walking across the sports field with their parents as escorts.
Senior Night is held during the last home football game of the season.
"Dylan loved music so much. He would have been a huge asset to the band if he was still here," said Lehighton Area High School senior Carissa Sevrin-Troxell, 18. "He was a part of our senior class. He would have wanted to walk across that field with his parents more than any of us."
Some students in the senior class were surprised to hear that the Krum's initial request to participate was denied. They quickly banded together to support the family, expressing disbelief and asking what they could do to make a difference.
Sevrin-Troxell planned to start a petition among members of the senior class asking the administration to allow the Krums to participate in Senior Night.
The district retracted its earlier decision and allowed the parents to take part in Senior Night before students could begin petitioning but not before students were inspired to find other ways to honor their lost classmate.
For Sevrin-Troxell, her inspiration was clearly visible around the football field. She designed and sold T-shirts outside of the school and at her family's business which said, "This is for you, Dylan. Class of 2014 Senior Night." The shirts included a heart created with musical symbols and the school's Indian logo.
Sevrin-Troxell encouraged her fellow classmates and members of the community to wear the shirts to the football game, and also during the school day on Friday for school spirit day.
"I got involved because I know how much this would mean to the parents and Dylan and even Gavin (Dylan's younger brother, who also lost his battle with cancer)," she said.
"I just wish I could watch Dylan and his family walk across the field, because he was always the happiest in band and with his family."