A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Conner Middle School 6th grade students stage dinner, fundraiser for teacher with rare cancer

By Steve Oldfield
Children, Inc.

Students at Conner Middle School are rallying around a beloved teacher who is fighting a rare form of cancer.

Erica Proffitt, 29, was diagnosed with Large B-Cell Mediastinal Lymphoma earlier this year. She decided to share the news with her students and the Conner Community.

“Cancer affects everyone,” Proffitt said. “I think it’s important for students to see someone going through it and staying strong and talking about compassion and empathy.”

Sixth grade students learned about Lymphoma and medical treatment options and they also discovered how a diagnosis can be devastating to a family because of mounting medical bills. That’s when students began organizing fundraisers to help their teacher.

Students hosted a spaghetti dinner recently. They also organized a silent auction, with all of the proceeds going to Proffitt and her family. They timed the event with a night of basketball in the gym and the school is donating those proceeds to Proffitt as well.

“I think she’s pretty brave for coming in and showing all the classes that she had this cancer and she wasn’t really afraid,” said Caden, a sixth grader.

“She’s had a very good comeback,” said Ethan, another sixth grader. “I think she met it with force.”

Proffitt says she has been able to pack a more potent punch against cancer because of all the support she has received at Conner. She returned to school this week after enduring six months of chemotherapy.

“I hope it helps them (her students) see that cancer isn’t always a death sentence and that we can fight through it together,” Proffitt said.

Students raised about $3,000 Thursday night. They are calling their cause #ProffittStrong – Colts Against Cancer.

“I am forever grateful to everyone at Conner for showing their support,” Proffitt said.

Erica Proffitt

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