Five years ago, Kelly Klein of Minnesota went into remission after battling ovarian cancer. Sadly, the cancer returned, forcing her to undergo treatment again.
The first time around, the beloved kindergarten teacher had to take six months off work, but these days, she’s spending her five-hour chemo sessions on the job — teaching her tiny students virtually!
Kelly has been teaching at the same elementary school for the last 32 years. She said it’s more than a job or even a career to her. It’s “her passion,” so the thought of having to take more time off was difficult. However, the move to virtual school during the novel coronavirus pandemic made it possible for her to see her students once a month.
When Kelly was undergoing treatment five years ago, everything was different. She had a group of friends who would come sit with her during her long chemotherapy sessions, but she’s not allowed to have visitors right now because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Since she has to sit in a chair during each treatment regardless, she realized her monthly appointments were a perfect opportunity to see her kids!
“Teaching 5-year-olds I always say is like going to Disney World. Everything is exciting and they’re so excited about everything that it gets me excited,” she told GMA.
When you’re at chemo and you’re around a lot of sick people, it’s kind of a depressing place to be. For me, to be around 5-year-olds during that time, it’s like a slice of normalcy in an abnormal environment.
“I get the energy from the kids like they get the energy from me,” she continued. “I get as much out of it as the kids.”
Beth Behnke, the principal of Falcon Heights Elementary, wasn’t even a little shocked when Kelly said she wanted to find a way to teach. “I was not surprised because of who she is as a person and what teaching means to her. It’s her tapestry.”
Kelly’s stage 3 cancer battle has been especially challenging this time around because it’s terminal. Knowing this, Kelly decided she was going to spend as much time as possible with her “three F’s: family, 5-year-olds, and friends.”
What an incredible educator! If only every child could be lucky enough to have a teacher like her in their life.
Learn more about Kelly and her family through the GoFundMe her daughter set up in her honor, and be sure to share this story with your friends.
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