Community rallies around Henrico special needs teacher battling cancer

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Henrico teachers and community members are rally around one of their own. Kelli King, who works with children with special needs, was recently diagnosed with cancer.

“I’m an instructional assistant at Henrico County Public Schools. I work with students that have disabilities across a bunch of different grades,” said King.

“When I look at all aspects of her life, when it comes to her job, her friends and community, she’s always trying to plug in and support anywhere she can,” said her friend, Jenna Childress.

“She always put others above herself,” added another friend, Cindy Yeskoo.

King said when she was diagnosed a few weeks ago.

“I was having respiratory distress, and I found out that I had Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. It’s very curable, so that’s extremely hopeful,” she said.

Yeskoo and Childress are using “Give Forward” website as a venue so people can donate funds to help King.

“I said there’s going to be some medical bills. I didn’t want her to be burdened by that when she needs to be focused on recovery,” Childress said.

“For someone who’s always so selfless and so giving, it’s only right that we give back and try to help that person in their time of need,” Yeskoo said.

King is amazed with the amount of support she’s seen.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by the outpourings of love, financial gifts and just people reaching out to me, some that I didn’t even know,” she said.

King says she has received dozens of cards from her students as well.

“One of the most disappointing things is I won’t be able to work with my students. I have a really close relationship with my students. I get to not only teach them, but I get to champion them and support them emotionally and just kinda be someone they can trust. So I really miss them,” said King.

“Her strength is astounding,” said Yeskoo.

King recently found out she’s Stage 2, and will have five more sessions of chemotherapy.

“I’m just starting to fight the battle and I feel good mentally, physically and spiritually,” said King.

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