(INSIDE EDITION) — A Texas teacher’s kindhearted students raised enough money to help her cross a trip to California off her bucket list after doctors gave the 55-year-old two years to live.
Michelle Wistrand, a teacher at Tomball Junior High School, was diagnosed with cancer, Leiomyosarcoma, in January 2015. After undergoing surgery and chemotherapy, doctors told her in February that there was nothing more that could be done.
The cancer has metastasized to her lungs.
The eighth grade language arts teacher, who has taught for the past 13 years, then decided to make a bucket list to travel and spend quality time with family and friends in the time she has left.
“I had for some reason told them [the students] I was going to the doctor on a Friday. That is when I had found out everything and then when I came back, one of my students said, ‘Oh, how was your doctor’s appointment?’” Wistrand told InsideEdition.com. “I thought, ‘Oh, well here we go. I am going to tell them because I have kind of kept them up with what’s going on.’”
Wistrand said the moment quickly became overwhelming.
“I started telling them and got teary,” Wistrand said.
The students said the moment was very serious for them.
“[When she told us] the whole class got really quiet. Quite a few people were crying and emotional,” Alana Lee, one of Wistrand’s 14-year-old students, told InsideEdition.com.
Wistrand said she wanted to lighten up the mood in the room so she began telling the students about her bucket list, but she couldn’t have fathomed the act of kindness that came the next day.
That night four of her students — Alana, Colton, Mickey, and Amanda — started a GoFundMe campaign, hoping to raise $7,500 to send their teacher to California.
“She has done so much for each of her students. She works so hard and pushes through so much for us. It was just one small thing we could do for her,” Alana said.
The fundraiser has already surpassed its goal and has raised more than $10,000.
“The next day, [they] told me what they had done and I just burst into tears,” Wistrand said. “I was shocked that they would think about that for me and it was just the sweetest thing. You know they’re eighth-graders but yet they were so in tune with what they wanted to do for me and what I needed. It was amazing.”
Wistrand said she plans to visit California over the summer.
“I wanted to put my feet in the Pacific Ocean and I wanted to see the redwoods. That’s the biggie,” Wistrand said.
Other things on her bucket list include: Watching sea turtles in Florida, visiting Michigan to watch the leaves change color, and learning to play the cello.
“I just want to go and see places. I want to spend time with my friends and my family,” Wistrand said.
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