Laurie Burpee was diagnosed with cancer in May, and five months later, in October, the second-grade teacher was put on medical leave.
According to Burpee, she told Good Morning America that she has no idea her students were going to surprise her that evening in December. The beloved teacher said the moment made her emotional.
Students Surprise Teacher With Cancer By Singing Christmas Carols
As GMA reports, Burpee was at home getting ready for her chemotherapy appointment the next day when she saw a light and noticed “little Santa hats” covering her lawn.
“I thought there are kids out there and then I thought, there are a lot of kids out there. When I went to the door and saw they were kids from school, the tears started to flow.”
As Burpee stood in her doorway, roughly 30 students began singing Christmas carols for her. According to GMA, Burpee was originally diagnosed with breast cancer, before her double mastectomy reveal that she has a rare salivary gland cancer instead.
The teacher has already completed six rounds of radiation and three rounds of chemotherapy. The cancer has metastasized to her lungs.
The children wanted to do this for Burpee, who has become known for her kind way and her desire to spread that kindness. York Elementary principal Dawn Harris said:
“She’s just this loving heart. She reminds us that we need to show kindness every day … and we’re continuing to live that in our building because of her.”
Harris said it was a parent who brought the idea of going to Burpee’s house to sing Christmas carols. That same night Burpee was also recognized for her many acts of kindness when she was presented with a “kindness citation” from Kindness 911.
And along with receiving the certificate, local police officers also presented Burpee with VIP tickets to a Seattle Mariners game, GMA reports. Burpee said of the surprise-filled night:
“It was just overwhelming but what a wonderful, wonderful, surprise. The best part was the kids. I miss those kids so much and I miss my colleagues.”
The teacher also admitted how great it felt to see her fight for kindness rubbing off on those she’s around regularly. “To build that culture and that climate around just noticing the tiny, little things you do make a huge difference and to know the importance of kindness and how you can just incorporate that easily into your day, it’s just phenomenal.”
Keep fighting, Laurie Burpee!
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