Supporting Teachers When They Need It Most: Two Inspiring Stories for World Cancer Day

04 Feb 2016 | abigaylehunterlodge

“The experience of fighting against the disease illuminated incredible gifts in the form of people who love and cared for me.” -Julia
We regularly feature stories of the dedication shown by great teachers throughout the world. How they make that extra effort to help and care when their students need them most. Just occasionally however, it works the other way round and it’s the teacher that needs love and support. To celebrate World Cancer Day, here are two stories that illustrate how great teachers can inspire such affection that their students and colleagues come together to show how much they care. A day before the summer recess, fourth grade teacher, Adriana Lopez, was asked to step into the hall of her public school in Staten Island, New York. Adriana had been diagnosed with breast cancer and faced a long programme of chemotherapy and radiation to combat the disease. As she sat down in the hall, the school’s choir announced that they had a surprise for her and broke into a secretly rehearsed version of ‘I’m gonna love you through it’, to show their solidarity with her in her fight against cancer. As a finale, they showered her with pink carnations as she expressed her thanks and determination to keep on teaching. She has since returned to the classroom whilst continuing her treatment after school hours. When posted on YouTube and shared on Facebook, the video of the song and Adriana’s reaction received over 17 million hits. You can see why here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITd5pesVjpY Meanwhile in Wisconsin, fifth grade teacher Julia was also diagnosed with breast cancer and faced a mastectomy as well as radiation and chemotherapy. Such was the affection and respect she inspired that the whole school as well as the wider community rallied round. Her class and fellow teachers helped her to reorganise her work around the needs of her treatment and kept her closely involved with the classroom even when she couldn’t be there. The families of her students showed their support by donating fuel and groceries. And many local people showed their solidarity with words of encouragement and love. [caption id="attachment_4723" align="alignnone" width="810"]Students who shaved their head's in solidarityJulia's students who shaved their heads in solidarity.[/caption] Read her story here. Two examples of how great teachers can bring out the best in all of us.