SHERIDAN Ark. – After a Sheridan fourth-grader was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, her class turned a lesson plan into a way to show support for her fight.
Whether it’s sitting in the classroom working on math problems or tumbling across the gym floor, that’s where fourth-grader Haley Chandler is the happiest. Lately, her desk has sat empty and she’s spending most of her time in a hospital bed.
“Sometimes I just want to go and scream though because of how mad I am,” Chandler said.
She was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma.
“The scary part is you don’t know if you’re going to live and stuff but the opportunity part is you get to know what other people go through,” Chandler said.
While this nine-year-old girl has quite a positive outlook, it’s been hard leaving her friends and classmates.
“They miss her and they know when she’s not here,” East End Elementary Teacher Tina Potter said.
Potter said the room just isn’t as bright when Haley is gone.
“Several kids in class come up and say ‘where’s Haley today? Can we be her pen pal and email her,'” Potter said.
That’s how Potter had an idea to turn a class lesson into a way her students could be with Haley all the time.
“They researched their favorite author. My example was Eric Carl, so we looked at how he illustrated his books,” Potter said.
Creating their own illustrations, they put together a book. With each drawing, there is a note from her classmates encouraging her to keep fighting.
“It says ‘be a light’ and it has a string of lights,” Chandler said.
The moment the class gave her the book was emotional not just for Haley, but Mrs. Potter too.
“I hate that someone so young has to go through what she’s going through, but proud that the class wanted to do something to lift her up,” Potter said.
While she is at the treatment she can flip through and know once she beats cancer, she will have great friends waiting for her back home.
“I’m not going through it alone. I have somebody beside me the whole way, more like 27 people,” Chandler said.
Haley is currently in Dallas for the next six weeks for treatment. Along with the class book, another student is growing her hair out to donate it in Haley’s honor.