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Teacher’s Dying Wish Comes True As Community Comes Together To Fulfill Beautiful Request

View down a an aisle at a church. The pews are lined with backpacks. There are also backpacks on the stage in the distance.

Teachers like Tammy Waddell make the world a better place. For years, she spent so much time and energy helping the kids in Forsyth County, Georgia. It’s no wonder, then, that so many people were heartbroken to hear that she passed away from cancer. But the impact she made on students and her community as a whole didn’t end with her death. Rather, this caring teacher used her own funeral to ensure that students got the supplies they needed for school.

When you go to a funeral, you’d expect to see lots of flowers. But according to a request made by Tammy herself, she preferred that visitors donate something other than flowers. The alternative? Backpacks full of school supplies. Each one that was donated would then be given to a student in need. Students, parents, fellow teachers, and others in the community were honored to join together in order to fulfill her last, selfless request.

Tammy Waddell smiles wide in a school photo.

Tammy’s cousin, Dr. Brad Johnson, shared some photos from the moving funeral. In one, rows of backpacks can be seen lining the church pews, just like flowers normally would. We can also see a group of folks who meant a lot to the teacher throughout her career.

Teachers Uses Her Own Funeral to Get Much-Needed Supplies in the Hands of Local Students

View down a an aisle at a church. The pews are lined with backpacks. There are also backpacks on the stage in the distance.

When you’re a teacher for as long as Tammy was, you end up meeting lots of co-workers along the way. Thanks to Tammy’s kind and giving heart, 100 of those colleagues took on the role of pallbearers. But rather than carrying her casket, their role was to carry the donated backpacks to the students in need.

After these photos went viral, folks from all around the world felt inspired to help. In fact, an education organization in the U.K. shared that they will be sending more backpacks to the school in Tammy’s honor.

A line of teachers stands outside a house and continues inside. A backpack is placed in front of each of them.

That being said, after a while, Brad had a word of advice for those who wanted to donate more themselves.

“Many have asked how to donate, but really we would like people to donate to the schools in their area,” Brad writes. “Many in our family are educators and we know the struggles of all districts. Spread the love locally!”

There’s no doubt that this is exactly what Tammy would have wanted.

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here!

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