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Letter to the Editor: Grateful for teachers’ support during cancer treatment

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Today, I want to highlight a group of people who have made a massive difference for my family this year.

Just five months ago, life was humming along swimmingly for the Johnston family. I was a stay-at-home wife to Jeremy and mom to our three children: Sadie (7), Micah (5), and Tessa (3).

On August 31, 2018, our lives were upended. You see, our three-year-old daughter, Tessa Abigail, was diagnosed with Stage 3 High-Risk Neuroblastoma. This meant complete upheaval for our family. Tessa’s treatment protocol is fifteen months long and requires her to live within one hour of Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Therefore, I immediately relocated to the Ronald McDonald House in Seattle. My husband, Jeremy, remained in Ferndale to continue his job as well as care for Sadie and Micah. My mom, Susan, moved up from Oregon to live at my house and care for my family.

We are five months into this journey and can honestly say that it has been excruciating. We wouldn’t wish cancer on anyone. The hardest pill to swallow is, of course, watching Tessa undergo painful treatment. But the second most difficult aspect is living in separate locations. I hate being away from Sadie and Micah and not being able to mother them in the ways that I ache to.

There are SO many family and friends that have helped and continue to help. We are in awe. We are so grateful. I want to highlight one such group today.

This group has done the following:

  • Greeted Sadie and Micah with a smile or a hug five days out of every week.
  • Provided a safe, nurturing spot for them to grow, learn, and thrive.
  • Followed up with our family via text and email.
  • Offered free counseling for Sadie and Micah.
  • Sent meaningful gifts to all three of our children.
  • Provided our family with a generous gift card to help when meals are hard to come by at the hospital.
  • Delivered an artificial Christmas tree to our house since Tessa couldn’t be around a real tree this year due to her condition.
  • Provided stocking gifts for all seven members of our family (grandparents included) since we were so overwhelmed by chemotherapy that we weren’t sure if we could pull Christmas off.
  • One of these generous folks spends a half-hour with Sadie every single week to let her talk about whatever is on her mind.
  • One of these generous folks buys a book for Micah during each Scholastic book order period and even includes one for Tessa!
  • One of these generous folks messages me once a week with encouraging thoughts to help us through this journey.
  • One of these generous folks organized a group of friends to bring our family several freezer meals.

You may have guessed who I am talking about…the teachers at my children’s school! They are SO committed, SO thoughtful, SO generous.

PLEASE VOTE YES to the Ferndale School District Bond. These teachers are amazing…think of what they could do with a new building and more support! We have been so very well-cared for at our very lowest point in life. We will never cease to be grateful for Ferndale Schools.

Sara Johnston

Letters to the Editor submitted to My Ferndale News are the opinions of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher of My Ferndale News.

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