Students, staff and families at Timberview Middle School wore green on Jan. 4, their first day back from winter break, to show support for fifth-grade teacher Michael Shaw, who is waiting for a liver transplant.
Shaw was diagnosed with liver cancer last summer, and the community at the Keller district school in north Fort Worth has rallied around him throughout the school year, he said.
“The support has been overwhelming,” Shaw said.
Many kids, parents and faculty members purchased T-shirts and bracelets from a website, delivermyliver.us, as a concrete way to help. Proceeds go toward the family’s medical expenses.
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Shaw’s wife, Jennifer, is a sixth-grade teacher at the school, and one of their sons is a seventh-grader there.
“They are both outstanding teachers, and with their son in school here, they are a family within our family. They’re special to all of us,” said Timberview Principal Carrie Jackson.
Those who did not purchase a shirt still could show their support by wearing green.
Students and staff also took to Twitter with #delivermyliver.
Shaw, who is on disability due to complications from liver failure, came to school to visit and take photos with students, families and staff who wore green. He received lots of hugs and high-fives from current and former students, he said.
The fundraising idea came from Shaw’s sister, Alison Sheffield of North Richland Hills, and his mother, Cathy Shaw of Watauga.
Jackson said that schools are not allowed to sponsor fundraisers for individuals, but they can promote them.
“Kids like to find ways to help, and a lot of kids who have had him in the past wanted to show their support,” Jackson said.
In addition to the “Go Green for Mr. Shaw Day,” staff and parents at the school have provided many weeks of meals, Shaw said. One parent who owns a business but whose child has never been in his class approached a number of vendors who all contributed to the medical fund.
Shaw said he has a good chance of getting a new liver in late April, May or June, when his status will move up higher on the transplant list.
He had chemotherapy for a cancerous lesion, but his liver is still failing.
“The cancer itself isn’t gone till I receive a new liver,” Shaw said.