The night skies of Montevallo were lit on Tuesday, July 8 by glowing balloons and glow sticks – all done to show love and support for John Oliver “Ollie” Tetloff.
Tetloff, a second grader at Montevallo Elementary, is battling a form of cancer called neuroblastoma. The event, organized by school counselor Wendy Williford, was done to put a smile Ollie’s face after his long struggle with his disease.
Several volunteers arrived at Montevallo Elementary School at 5:30 p.m. to help insert glow sticks inside balloons so that they would glow in the dark. An estimated crowd of 500 then gathered at Flowerhill on the Campus of the University of Montevallo. Once the sun set a Montevallo Fire Truck escorted the parade of people a few blocks to greet Ollie and his family at their home. The crowd chanted “We love Ollie” as they carried the glowing balloons and homemade banners and signs of support.
Ollie looked on from his wheelchair in his front yard with his mother, Meredith Tetloff by his side. He also got in on the fun by putting on glowstick bracelets, necklaces and glasses.
“It was a huge success. It meant a lot to me that that many people showed up to show their love and support for Ollie and to help me put a smile on his face,” said Williford.
“He loved it and he couldn’t believe how many people were there.”
Williford said the most touching moment came after everyone else had left and Ollie was able to be reunited with a very special friend from kindergarten.
“That was such a sweet, touching moment” Williford said. “His dad said he talks about her all the time, so it was so special to see them be able to spend a few moments with each other.”