Band director spreads holiday cheer at hospital
On Wednesday, Ooltewah Middle School Band Director Tracey Coats and 50 of her closest friends joined together to share the Christmas spirit with others.
Ooltewah Middle School Band Director Tracey Coats was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer earlier this year.
She goes through an intense chemo treatment every three weeks. Her fourth session was on Wednesday, but that didn't stop her from sharing her Christmas spirit with others.
On Wednesday, Coats, with her IV tubes not far behind, filled the halls of Erlanger East with music. 50 of her closest friends joined her in what she calls the "Encouragement Express." It is her way of bringing smiles to the faces of those, like herself, battling cancer.
"I wanted to be an encouragement," Coats said. "I know if I felt this, there were others that probably felt a little bummed about having to do chemo treatment five days before Christmas. The Chattanooga community coming together to try and encourage people that I know, probably were in a dark place this season."
Students past and present showed up to show their support for Mrs. Coats. Together, they sang songs like "O Holy Night," "Rudolph" and "Jingle Bells."
"I just love Ms. Coats," Kaden Sharp, a student of Coats, said. "She is awesome, and I hope she feels better.
She is somebody that truly pours out joy, and passion for what she does," Casey Hardison, Coats former student, said. "She cares about every student she interacts with and every person she comes in contact with."
Coats focus this Christmas season isn't on shopping and rushing around. She is spending time with the people precious to her and proving teaching can continue outside the classroom.
"Walk through this experience letting people know that, first of all, it is possible to walk this road," Coats explained. "You can walk it with joy and during the season it is important to realize that."
Ms. Coats only has two more chemo sessions and a surgery remaining. She hopes to return to the classroom in March.