Soddy-Daisy Middle supports cancer-stricken teacher, child - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

SCHOOL PATROL: Soddy-Daisy Middle supports cancer-stricken teacher, child

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Reese Martin Reese Martin

SODDY-DAISY, TN (WRCB) -- It's never easy when someone you love is diagnosed with cancer. Soddy-Daisy Middle School got a double dose of bad news when a popular teacher, and the young son of another teacher were both diagnosed in December 2010.  It's no surprise the student body, and faculty are rallying to help their friends in need.

As you enter the school, and you can't miss the signs.  It's a strong showing of support and love for history teacher Randall Rowan, and for five-year-old Reese Martin, the son of math teacher Regina Martin.

Physical Education teacher Tom Marino has helped lead fund-raising efforts for both.  Of Reese, Marino says, "He has inspired the entire school.  He's just five, but he has a larger than life personality.  Regina has brought him to some of our school events during the past year.  He's always smiling, and constantly on the go."  He said that Mrs. Martin plans to return to the classroom in late February after Reese has completed his rounds of radiation at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.  Some of the treatments will be administered at Children's Hospital in Chattanooga so the family can attempt to lead a normal life.

Mr. Rowan has been unable to teach this year, working hard to overcome the effects of a brain tumor.  His nieces, both students at the school, field questions each day from students and teachers who are tracking his progress.  8th grader Erin Rowan said, "All the time, people are asking me, how's your uncle? We try to give updates, because people here really miss him.  Her sister Micayla, a 6th grader said, "He's really funny, the funniest man I know.  He makes his doctors and nurses laugh.  He's very kindhearted, everyone loves him here."

The school has dedicated a portion of its library to Mr. Rowan, with a large portrait of him overlooking a collection of Civil War history books, which his nieces describe as "his passion."

Reese, who was featured in a 2011 WRCB St. Jude Hospital story, has had ups and downs during a year of treatment, but has recently suffered a relapse.  He is undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments, with the support of an entire school behind him.

Soddy-Daisy Middle students and teachers have responded with an outpouring of love, and fund-raisers.  Students have staged "battle-ball" tournaments, and sold wristbands to help with expenses. But just as important are their expressions of love, letting the Martins and Rowans know they're not facing these challenges alone.

6th grader Peri Prestwood said, "We really like them, and feel sorry for them that they have to go through all this.  I know they would rather be here with us.  They're two of our favorite teachers, and everybody here loves little Reese." 

For information on how you can help the families, send them a card, or some words of support, contact Soddy-Daisy Middle School, 200 Turner Road, Soddy-Daisy, TN  37379 or (423) 332-8800.

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