RICHMOND — “We just want her to know we’ve got her back,” Lynn Percy, Central Heights High School teacher, said of her friend and coworker, Terrie Titus. “We just wanted to make sure she knew we loved her.”
Titus, Central Heights human resource and business manager, was diagnosed with breast cancer in late November, she said. Ever since, she has been fighting back through treatment and working for the school. She’s experienced an outpouring of support ever since the school district was informed, she said. Students at Central Heights made and sold bracelets to raise money for her, the school played host to a Frito chili pie fundraiser, and Percy’s freshman health class showed their support by making a video.
“It’s been amazing,” Titus said.
The most recent showing of support, the freshman girls’ class video, was so touching that the 40 & 8 Voiture Post 335 of Iola felt compelled to honor the girls for their humanitarian efforts. Sherrie Emmons, of 40 & 8, presented humanitarian awards to the freshman girls’ class and commended Titus for her fight against cancer in the auditorium Friday afternoon at Central Heights High School, 3521 Ellis Road, Richmond. The video features girls from the health class holding up signs of support to encouraging music.
Emmons said she and the organization felt they had to honor the students for showing compassion toward other people who are struggling and need support.
“These young ladies are so remarkable to think of others the way they do,” Emmons said in her presentation.
Percy, who wore a pink jacket honoring Titus, said she suggested her health class come up with a way to show support. What started as a modest suggestion turned into a project that filled hearts.
“I’ve known her for a long time,” Percy said. “I was thinking, ‘Let’s make a video to just cheer her up.’ So I talked to my health class about it. I threw out some ideas. I was like, ‘We can just do it, make a few signs’ and they just took off with it.”
The idea kept building to the point where the students were making the video and sharing it, Percy said. Students had made videos before, she said, but maybe not something so special.
“We just wanted to make sure she knew we loved her,” Percy said, holding back tears. “All of our kids, if you don’t know Central Heights, we’ve got great kids here — I can’t even describe.”
After recognizing the girls of the freshman class, Emmons, who is a cancer survivor, brought Titus on stage and presented her with a bouquet of flowers, wrapped in pink tissue paper. Emmons said Titus has a strong support group at the school.
“Breast cancer is diagnosed every day by hundreds of doctors, but when found in the early stages, they can perform miracles for most,” Emmons said. “I, myself, am a cancer survivor since 1988, and am very blessed, like Mrs. Titus, who had all these wonderful students and faculty behind her.”
Titus, who lives in Princeton, has been in treatment since her diagnosis in November. She said she couldn’t be happier with the support coming from the school district.
“I could not ask for a better staff or students,” Titus said. “It’s been amazing.”
The diagnosis didn’t stop Titus from doing her job, she said, and continues to work as much as she can. Her time at the school is what keeps her going, she said, and she’s now halfway done with her treatment.
“There’s lots of days where I can only work half a day,” Titus said. “That’s what’s keeping me going. The day of my treatments I’m out, and then usually a couple of days after I can only work a couple of hours and I have to go home. But then I bounce back.”
Emmons said she received the video from her granddaughter, Jordon Surber, who is a freshman at Central Heights and a volunteer for 40 & 8. Surber was recognized for her work with the organization at the beginning of the presentation. Emmons said she showed the organization the video and said they had to do something to recognize the girls and Titus.
“It’s an act of kindness toward others,” Emmons said. “I thought, we just got to do something for those girls because this is just wonderful.”