Abilene teacher receives special award for efforts with student battling cancer

Local News

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – An Allie Ward Elementary School teacher got a surprise Friday for her effort helping one of her students that battled cancer, while also showing the other students how they could help, too.

Laurie Velasquez, a third-grade math teacher at Ward Elementary School was surprised with a $2,000 grant from National Life Group’s LifeChanger of the Year program.

“I was very shocked, shocked,” Velasquez said.

After everything Velasquez did while McKenzie Husing’s daughter Ciara battled a rare form of cancer, she felt compelled to send an email to the program in hopes of getting the teacher’s efforts recognized.

“We were going through all of this through Ciara’s cancer, I mean, above the scale, through the roof,” Husing says. “She just surpassed everything, things I didn’t even expect her to do.”

When the program heard her story, they decided to come together to make a special award just for her, called “Thank a LifeChanger.”

“I opened it up, started crying and just was so touched by it that we all got together and decided, ‘Hey, we need to do something for her,'” Inspire Financial Group Advisor Brian Hart said.

Even after winning the award, Velasquez still says it’s because of everyone else.

“That’s pretty amazing they made one just for this situation, because it’s really not me. It really is the whole community that came together and did this,” Velasquez says. “The classroom, the students, the parents, everybody came together.”

Velasquez says she plans to use the money to help buy herself a new car and that Ciara will probably be the first person to ride in it.

To learn more about Ms. Velasquez and her efforts, click here.

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