PALMETTO, Fla — Thanksgiving is all the talk these days in Meredith Brown's kindergarten class. Her "Brownie's" as she calls them, are thankful for dads, moms, toys and pretty much everything else.
“I’m thankful for the world,” one little boy told Brown.
Brown is also thankful for many of the things her students have listed.
“I’m thankful for so many things on this great list.” She told the kids seated at her feet, “But this year, I’m most thankful for my health.”
Brown, who is busy teaching her students sight words, has spent the past year learning all about a word that no one wants to hear—cancer.
Brown got the phone call from her doctor in her classroom.
“I had to take them immediately to the lunchroom and then I fell apart,” Brown recalled.
Brown had a portion of her thyroid removed, but complications followed, and she wound up at Moffitt Cancer Center. There, she found the experts and atmosphere to help her heal.
“Every single person at Moffitt is compassionate,” she said.
There’s a sign in the classroom that reads, “Life is tough, but so are you.” And, Brown admits there still are tough days, but she keeps moving forward.
On Saturday, she’ll join thousands of others moving forward at Miles for Moffitt.
“I feel I was given the 'good cancer,' so I can hopefully provide hope for somebody else,” Brown said, choking back some tears.
Brown's two daughters, who are nine and seven years old, give her strength and so do the bright faces that fill her room.
In crayon and pencil, her students scrawled a message of thanks. On many of their papers, they give thanks for Mrs. Brown.
They’ve also been practicing a Thanksgiving song: “Thank you are the words we say, not just on Thanksgiving Day."
And, for cancer survivors like Brown, when it comes to thanks, they live and breathe it every day.