In January 2015, one Texas junior high teacher discovered she had cancer. She hoped she would be able to fight it, but doctors explained that it was terminal and gave her just two to five years to live.
About a month after Michelle Wistrand, a language arts teacher at Tomball Junior High, found out she had leiomyosarcoma, cancer of the soft muscle tissue, she decided it was time to tell her students the tragic news. “That’s when I told them that I had about two to five years at that time,” Wistrand said. “It got pretty quiet. They were crying and I was crying and that’s when I switched to my bucket list.”
Rather than waste the rest of her time focusing on the negative, Wistrand explained to her students that with her time left, she hoped to cross off some items on her bucket list like swim in the Pacific Ocean and see the redwoods in California if she could afford it.
One of her students, 14-year-old Mickey Nolan, desperately wanted to help Wistrand so started a GoFundMe page called “Together We Can Wistrand Anything” to help raise money so she could afford to fulfill her bucket list. “We donated the first $50 and it was Mickey’s idea and that’s the kind of kid he is,” Nolen’s mom Cindy said. “He is a self-starter and a compassionate, kind kid, and I am just so proud of him.”
So far, they have raised more than $11,700 through the GoFundMe campaign and a t-shirt sale and surprised Wistrand with the incredible gift, which will allow her to take a trip with her family this summer, travel to Michigan in the fall, and then visit her son in Iowa in the winter. “I cried and cried,” Wistrand said. “I feel blessed and I am just so thankful to have them in my life. I could not have taken these trips, there’s no way. They blow me away with their kindness.”
“I want to learn to play the cello,” the 55-year-old added. “I want to go to be with the people that I love and spend as much time with them as I possibly can.”
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[Featured image: ABC News/Michelle Wistrand]