TOMBALL, Texas (KTRK/CNN) — A terminally-ill teacher in Texas is close to fulfilling her “bucket list,” thanks to her students.
Michelle Wistrand was nearing her last year of teaching at Tomball Junior High School in 2015 after a life-changing cancer diagnosis.
Doctors gave her between two and five years to live as she battled Leiomyosarcoma, a cancer of the soft tissue.
The teacher came up with a “bucket list” shortly after her diagnosis and told her eighth-grade students.
“Told them my first wish was to go to the Redwood forest and put my feet in the Pacific Ocean,” Wistrand told KTRK.
For her students, it was a no-brainer. Fundraisers and a GoFundMe account raised close to $11,500.
Wistrand saw the forest, the ocean and sea turtles in Florida. She saw her son on stage in Iowa and the Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island, Michigan, which was featured in one of her favorite movies.
“Seeing everything God has created from one side, I’m going to cry,” she paused. “One side of the U.S. to the other side of the U.S. is just phenomenal.”
None of it would have been possible without the generosity of others and the teens who love her.
“I think it shows she was an awesome teacher and she’s had such an impact on the community,” said Mickey Nolen, now a 9th grader.
Last week, Wistrand’s doctor recommended she move toward hospice care soon. But she doesn’t fear death.
“I have learned that people are kind and compassionate, and that Christ is my all,” she said.
Her students take comfort that they gave her some happiness, even if it isn’t for as long as they would have liked.
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