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An area high school teacher who started raising money after her daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer has inspired her school and the community to follow suit.
“I’ve seen another side to a lot of my students that I don’t always get to see,” said Millard North High School teacher Sue Roberts. “They’ve opened their hearts.”
Her daughter, Heather, was diagnosed with brain cancer last spring. Roberts has continued to teach classes as Heather has undergone surgeries and treatment.
“You wallow in the pity party,” Roberts said. “Nothing gets accomplished except crying, and I do enough of my crying, I do. But we just decided to do something.”
That something involved a project inspired by her daughter’s nickname.
“She swam at a very early age in her life and we’ve called her Frog ever since,” Roberts said.
Roberts started raising money for education and brain cancer research in a program she called Leap for a Cure. Students at the school took notice.
“Everyone was really willing to get involved,” said student Kellie Hamilton.
The students have begun selling T-shirts, banding together to “wear gray for a day” to show their support and finding other ways to raise money.
“We have umbrellas that are hanging up in the main hallway, so people can pass by and drop loose change up there,” said Hamilton.
Leap for a Cure started at Millard North, but fundraisers are now taking place in other schools around the district and in nearby districts. Area businesses have also chipped in and the campaign as raised $15,000.
Students said the project has opened their eyes about what it’s like to walk in the shoes of someone affected by cancer.
“(I’m) learning about it, and learning that they don’t really have a lot of research done,” said Hamilton. “They’re still looking for so many answers. I had no idea about that until learning about it now.”
Roberts said the response has also opened her eyes, humbling her and her family.
“It’s really, really refreshing to see this side of them,” Roberts said. “They’re caring. They’re our future and I’m really proud of them.”