SHELBY COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Friday at Oak Mountain Intermediate was Market Day in Mrs. Miller’s and Mrs. Easterling’s homerooms.
The students have received tickets all year long for good behavior, and given the choice to save them each week to spend on this very day.
Each student came up with homemade ideas for their market booth, but one student chose to give part of himself to support Mrs. Easterling. His homeroom teacher Mrs. Miller was also touched by his thoughtfulness.
"It was just too familiar. I knew when she closed my classroom door that the news was not what we had hoped for,” she explained.
A few months shy of Mrs. Miller celebrating three years cancer free, Mrs. Easterling, her dear friend and teaching partner, was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“It just kind of stopped me in my tracks,” she recalled.
Little did she know, she was not the only one being slammed with these same familiar and painful emotions.
“Well I mean when my mom and dad first told me that Mrs. Easterling had breast cancer, it was like I’ve gone through it so many times,” the student, Eli, explained. “I wanted to support her, and I kind of know what it feels like because I have had my aunt that had it, and my mom’s best friend, so I don’t exactly feel what they go through, but I can feel that it’s not the best thing.”
Mrs. Miller said it is so touching to see her students with such big hearts.
“But then to see a child doing something, it just really hits you that they care enough to sacrifice part of them, because they don’t know what else to do, and financially they can’t make a large donation to an organization or foundation, but they want to do something,” she explained.
So with tickets and a school market, 4th-grader Eli created a priceless gesture of hope and support for Mrs. Easterling.
Students could spend their tickets on a chance to enter a drawing.
“The winner of Buzz Off Cancer will be able to shave Eli’s head,” Mrs. Miller explained.
Taking one more look at his handsome, gelled locks, he stands firm in his decision.
“To know that there is someone else that believes in you, and that’s trying to have a mirror image of what you’re going through, and just spread awareness,” said Eli.
A lot of Eli’s classmates gave their tickets to his booth to have a chance at shaving his head. Mrs. Miller put all the names in a plastic container and drew the winner. It ended up being one of Eli’s friends, and he looked a little nervous when he saw who was picked, but knew that he was sure in his decision.
“I did it to support one of my teachers, who is a big part of my life, they do so many things for me, and I guess I want to pay them back, in a way,” he explained.
Eli was able to pay Mrs. Easterling back with an act of kindness that no amount of money or tickets could ever buy.