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BLOOMINGTON - Efforts to raise money for an ill Bloomington High School student received a big boost Monday with the donation of $12,000.

About $20,000 has been collected so far to help Katie Kiper and her family, said school Principal Cindy Helmers.

Kiper has undergone cancer surgery at St. John's Hospital in Springfield. Her family hopes the 15-year-old sophomore will be able to come home today, in time for the holidays. Kiper has been battling cancer for more than a year.

Helmers said opening Monday's mail added a bright spot to the fund-raising effort. That is when school officials opened the envelop that contained two $6,000 checks.

A person who wants to remain unidentified made a personal donation to the effort and a donation on behalf of that person's company.

"This is going to help out so much," said Katie Kiper's mother, Janice Kiper. "The family wants to thank everyone for everything they have done."

The donation received Monday is just one of many "wonderful outpourings" in the effort to help Katie Kiper, Helmers said.

"The community, the students, the faculty have just really come together in this effort," Helmers said. "It's just been incredible."

Among the many donations, one student brought in her paycheck and another donated the money she was saving for a computer, Helmers said.

Also, Helmers said Katie Kiper is truly enjoying the cards and letters sent to her.

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