Michelle Wistrand was diagnosed with Leiomyosarcoma, a cancer of the soft tissue, in 2015. She has missed school for treatments, but she has always been back. Her students knew about her disease. Last week, the news got worse.
"They said two to five years more or less. Could be more, could be less," Wistrand said of her life expectancy.
"We all kind of got teary-eyed and some of us were crying," said student Mickey Nolen, 13.
Because of the tears, the 8th grade English/Language Arts teacher changed the subject to her bucket list.
"Told them my first wish was to go to the Redwood forest and put my feet in the Pacific Ocean," she said.
Within a day, her dream got closer to becoming reality. With the catchy slogan, "Together We Can Wistrand Anything," the students set up a GoFundMe site and asked for donations. They started rolling in.
"This is one way we can give back to her and show her how much we love her," explained student Alana Lee, 14.
"She did such amazing things for us that we want to return the favor," added Nolen.
Wistrand plans to retire in May and hopes to touch the Pacific and put her arms around a Redwood tree in August. If she never goes, she says what her students have done will be enough.
"I just feel loved and humbled by it and so extremely grateful I have these people in my life," Wistrand said.
To donate: https://wwwgofundme.com/3d4ze28
To learn more about Leiomyosarcoma: https://www.nlmsf.org