Welcome to the Reed-Custer Cares web page.  The Reed-Custer School District stands together as ONE to support those in need.  Our motto is Strength in Numbers.  Helen Keller communicated, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”  We ask that you browse through the information below and join us in spirit as we support the following individuals during difficult times.  Our Reed-Custer Cares causes are listed below in alphabetical order.

The City of Braidwood joins our efforts in its 1-29-15 Braidwood Beat.


Braedan Belcher
Hugs and a Heart for Braedan

​Braedan Belcher was born with a congenital heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. His journey began with his first surgery when he was only 3 1/2 days old. His second surgery was at 3 months old, and his third surgery took place when he was 2.  Braedan is now 9 years old and had another surgery to repair his leaky tricuspid valve on November 2, 2015.  Although his surgery seemed to be a success at first, his heart did not respond well. He is at a point now where the ONLY option will be a heart transplant. The doctors at Lurie Children's Hospital are not optimistic that he will be able to go home before they find him a heart. His mom and dad (Lisa and Larry) both work full time, but his mom will not be able to return to work right now. She will need to be at Braedan's bedside during this process. Braedan is a 4th grade student at Reed-Custer Intermediate School. He misses being at school, misses his friends, and just misses being able to be a kid.  The Reed-Custer CARES group supports Braedan and his family during this difficult period. 
You can help Braedan and his family in several ways:
An account has been set up at Mazon State Bank in Braidwood.  Donations can be made to "Hugs & a Heart for Braedan". 
The address is -
130 N. Washington Street
Braidwood, IL 60408
A GoFundMe account has been set up titled "Hugs & a Heart for Braedan."


Reed-Custer Intermediate School held a benefit on April 27, 2016.

McTeacher's Night    RCIS Teachers
10/14/16 Update! -  Braedan is back!

On Monday, October 3rd, Reed-Custer welcomed Braedan back to school! Braedan has been fully cleared and his heart is functioning properly.   

Braedan still has many follow-up doctor appointments and lots of medication, but he is feeling good and looking great.  The entire Reed-Custer School District welcomes Braedan back! Braedan and his parents would like to thank everyone for their support over the past year.



Megan Bugg

Megan Bugg is the daughter of Kent and Deb Bugg.  Deb has been a teacher with the Reed-Custer School District since 1987.  She has touched the lives of thousands of students and families during her tenure as a Reed-Custer High School teacher.  Megan has been battling Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma.


After Megan's 36 week chemo and radiation treatment for her initial relapse, she was scanned and her doctors discovered two additional tumors in her lower back near her spinal cord.  She went through another round of proton radiation, which successfully treated those tumors.  She was scanned again in March, and her medical team found yet another tumor in her chest located near her aorta.  Due to the location of the tumor, her doctors wanted to wait until late April to perform a scan to see if the tumor had grown.  Blood tests are also ongoing to monitor Megan’s condition.

In the meantime, Megan has been working hard to raise funds to support childhood cancer research.  She has set up a fundraising site where supporters can make direct tax deductible donations to support the very promising research being conducted by Dr. Walterhouse at Luries Children's Hospital in Chicago.  He is conducting research on Megan's specific type of cancer, and every dollar Megan raises goes directly to support his research.  Given that the Federal government only allocates 4% of all cancer funding to support childhood cancer research, every dollar counts.  If you are interested in donating to her cause, you may do so by visiting this site.​

Updates are provided through the following blog:  Megan Buggs' Journey 


The City of Braidwood is recognizing "Megan Monday" as the day to share a positive attitude like Megan.


​Deb Esparza

Deb Esparza has been a bus driver for the Reed-Custer School District for 24 years.  Deb recently underwent surgery to remove cancerous cells.  The outcome of the surgery was positive.  She may have to undergo radiation for a period of time.  Positive support and prayers will be appreciated as Deb marches through this endeavor.


​Melissa Koslowski Melissa Koslowski, a senior at RCHS, had open heart surgery on January 9th and a second heart surgery on the 12th.  Her mother Cheryl, who is a bus driver for Reed Custer, has not left her side since December 28th when Melissa was admitted to Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Melissa’s Grandmother, Sharon Lestina, also worked for Reed Custer School district in food service for many years.  Melissa will remain in the care of her doctors there until they feel she can be released to go home. 


Mazon Family ​On the night of November 16th, the Mazon family suffered a house fire. The Mazon family is comprised of Aaron & Kristine Mazon and daugthers Nicole (2016 RCHS grad, who is currently attending Olivet Nazarene University),  Haley (12th grade) and Emily (9th grade). Fortunately, the family was able to escape the home without any injuries; but sadly the entire home was a loss. The family is currently working with their insurance company to secure more permanent housing until their home can be rebuilt. The family hopes to be in a rental home by the end of this week. Please keep the Mazon family in your thoughts and prayers.​ 


Betty Neighbors​​ Betty Neighbors, sixth grade paraprofessional and Middle School Games Club sponsor, with the District since 2000, has been battling health issues over the last few years. As of February, after her last surgery, the cancer was in remission.  Since bladder cancer has a high return rate, she will be on a regimen of scopes and chemo treatments every three months for at least the next 3 years.  On Saturday, September 19, 2015 her house caught fire. Everyone was able to escape unharmed, but it was a total loss. They have just begun the restoration, and have not been able to move back yet.

07/28/16 Update! - Very good news for Betty and her family.  Betty has undergone 2 scans this summer and both have come back negative for cancer.  In addition, Betty is no longer required to take chemo treatments – her condition is looking really good!  Betty and her family were able to return to their house on July 4, 2016 after being displaced for approximately 10 months from the September 2015 house fire.  Her home was completely rebuilt!


Lexi Spray

Lexi Spray is the daughter of Bill and Andrea Spray.  Andrea has been a teacher with the Reed-Custer School District since 2006.  Andrea first taught 5th grade, and has spent most of her years with the district as a dedicated 2nd grade teacher at Reed-Custer Intermediate School, where she has helped to build the educational foundations of many students.  In July of 2014, Lexi was diagnosed with Langerhan’s Cell HistocytosisIn August of 2015, Lexi completed her treatment.  The first scans showed no new growth.  At her six month check-up, the scans showed several new spots.  This resulted in Lexi beginning a new round of treatment beginning in February.  She is receiving two different types of chemotherapy for five days each month.  This treatment will be ongoing for one year.  The Spray family appreciates the positive thoughts and prayers from the Reed-Custer CARES group.


Michael Wilkey​

We lost a freshman student, Michael Wilkey, this week to an unfortunate accident.

Michael was an energetic and caring person who was loved by many.  He loved to be with his family and friends and really enjoyed spending time outdoors.  Michael wanted to be a carpenter and enjoyed taking things apart and putting them back ​together. He was a very hard worker who wanted to do nothing else but to get good grades.  His infectious smile and bubbly personality will be missed by the RC family.  Below is a link to the family’s go fund me page & a news article related to the tragic incident.





Jim Zack​a​vec​ 07/29/16 Update! - Jim Zackavec is the husband of Jennifer Zackavec. Jennifer has been with Reed-Custer School District since 1994 and is a first grade teacher. Jennifer’s husband Jim has been ill since 2003 and was diagnosed several years ago with reoccurring benign multi-cystic peritoneal mesothelioma. Since Jim’s surgery on September 14th, he has struggled with recovery.  Since that surgery, Jim has had many bumps in his road to recovery.  He has been in and out of the hospital (more in than out) dealing with pain from bowel obstructions and abnormal blood counts due to kidney damage.  With the bowel issues he was experiencing, Jim had yet another major surgery on June 24th at University of Chicago Medical Center. The surgery was to remove scar tissue that has accumulated from the many surgeries he has endured that was preventing his colon from working properly and causing the bowel obstructions. Currently, Jim is home and is receiving IV nutrition daily.  He has nephrostomy tubes coming directly from his kidneys, has stents placed to help improve drainage internally, along with an open incision from June 24th that is still trying to heal.  Jim is still on long term disability and is focused on recovering.  We are grateful for the support he is receiving.  Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.   He is still has a long way to go.