HOWARD COUNTY, Ind. - An Indiana teacher and coach has been sidelined by brain cancer, but his former students have taught him a powerful lesson by stepping up to raise the money for his treatment.
Tim Strand’s family has turned to social media for help, and in just five days, Strand has realized what an impact he’s had on his students’ lives over the years.
Strand, 46, an eighth-grade science teacher, learned of his diagnosis at the end of March. The teacher and women’s soccer coach had surgery to remove a cancerous brain tumor six weeks ago.
"They took the tumor out, but the tumor leaves roots behind," Strand explained.
His best chance at getting back in the classroom this fall is a seven-week proton radiation therapy -- an expensive therapy with fewer side effects -- that insurance won’t pay for.
"It shoots a beam of radiation in that side and they have calculated exactly where it needs to go to and it stops. It doesn't continue to go through the rest of my brain," Strand said.
Word of the popular teacher’s condition spread quickly. Strand soon realized just how many students’ lives he has touched in his 18 years of teaching throughout Howard and Grant counties.
In less than one week, former students, friends and family donated more than $100,000 for his treatment. They have also shared their memories of the science teacher.
"They are grown adults from out of state. It has been such a blessing to see the electronic media used in such a huge way. It is a miracle to us," Strand said. "It is just amazing to sit back and read all the comments when I'm really feeling worn out or starting to feel a little bit discouraged about it all."
Strand said he has been the one to learn a new lesson.
"It is a wonderful feeling to feel you have had some positive impact on your kids," he said.
Strand will begin his proton therapy Wednesday in Bloomington where he will stay for seven weeks. He said he hopes to be back teaching in the classroom this fall.