Austintown senior helps young cancer survivor catch up on schoolwork

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – An Austintown Fitch senior is helping a 12-year-old cancer survivor keep up with her school work.

Two years ago, Emily Orlaski was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Pictures of her without hair are scattered throughout her home.

Cancer treatments forced her to miss most of fourth and fifth grade. Emily was keeping up with her school work, except for math.

That’s when Natalie Lynn, an honors student and volleyball and basketball player, stepped in and the two quickly formed a special bond.

“She’s a very quick learner and she picks up things very quickly but with the math, the way that they do it, it’s hard to catch up on that unless you have someone teaching you,” said Emily’s mother, Karen Orlaski.

Emily says she was behind and didn’t know the multiplication methods her peers were using.

Natalie admits she forgot how to divide and had to relearn the skill.

“I was at home practicing how to divide again,” she said.

Karen says Natalie’s demeanor is non-threatening and helpful to Emily.

“[Emily’s] not used to having that teacher relationship for the past two years, so that took a little of the pressure off for her and it made it a little more fun.”

At the last Austintown School Board meeting, Natalie was honored for the work she’s done with Emily.

As for Emily, she’s cancer-free and on her last report card, she made the honor roll with a B in math.