COTC Class Raises Money for Knox County Girl with Rare Disease

NEWARK, Ohio, March 17, 2016 – A class project at Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) aims to make others on campus and in the community aware of a disease that is affecting the life of a two-year-old girl in Knox County.  Paityn Elliot of Centerburg had a cancerous tumor removed when she was 13 months old. The cancer caused a rare disorder called Opsoclonus-Myoclonus Syndrome (OMS), which occurs when the immune system tries to fight the cancer and mistakenly attacks the brain.

Professor of Business Management Technology Cindy Nauer asked her Team Building class to come up with a real-world, fundraising project this semester. Several ideas were proposed, but Paityn's story was the overwhelming winner. 

"It touched everyone's heart in the class," said Katie Clagett, who is taking the course. "We all felt like she was our relative."

OMS is characterized by associated ocular, motor, behavioral, sleep and language disturbances. The onset is usually abrupt, often severe and can become chronic.

Paityn's aunt, Nikki Looney, is in the class and suggested the project. When she presented the idea before the class, she brought Paityn to class with her.

"We want to try to raise awareness of this fairly unknown disease," said Looney. "We want to help fund research and get information to help Paityn."


The goal of the class project is to raise $5,000.  The class will conduct bake sales, t-shirt sales and a hammock raffle during campus events over the next several weeks. The hammock is currently on display in the John L. and Christine Warner Library and Student Center. The class also has a Facebook page to create more awareness on the issue.

"I'm very proud of this class," said Nauer. "This is a very important topic, and the class has rallied around a young girl in our region who needs help."

If you have any questions about the fundraiser, contact Nauer at

Central Ohio Technical College opened in 1971 and is celebrating its 45th anniversary in 2016. COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs, as well as encouraging the professional development of students, staff, faculty and administrators to assist them in achieving their maximum potential.  COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.