One elementary school teacher is getting help from the Lake Country community during a difficult time.
Brad Low is a math and science teacher at Davidson Road Elementary and in December he was diagnosed with leukemia for the second time.
Shortly thereafter, the community jumped in with support and last week his school held a fundraiser called Love for Low.
Low is currently receiving chemotherapy treatment at Vancouver General Hospital.
To keep him connected with his classrooms, Low is communicating with the children through blood count, he said.
“We were trying to figure out a way to keep them in the loop… a good way is to let them in on the blood counts,” he said. “We spin it to kind of like a weatherman-type program where they can track the progress.”
Low splits classes with humanitarian teacher Drew Bonneteau, allowing him to connect with two classrooms which equal around 60 students.
“It’s a bit hectic sometimes,” he said.
The LowDown, is a weekly YouTube broadcast created by the students each week.
“It’s kind of a hard line to try and figure out how much info to give the kids… I miss them and wanted to stay connected with them on a weekly basis,” he said.
“The kids are along this journey with him,” said principal Janey Slaney.
More than 500 people attended the fundraiser, which was originally going to be kept small, she said.
Originally parents and teachers were invited and silent auction items such as a teacher sleepover, a skating day and other babysitting-like items were offered by the teachers. But as word spread companies and community members began to donate food items, gift baskets and more.
“We devised a way to give back ourselves,” said Slaney. Then, the “community rallied around us.”
A cake walk was held, along with face painting, and other activities as the community filled the elementary school. A chili dinner was provided and the night was finished with a pie-in-the-face event.
Slaney doesn’t have a total amount raised, but she said it was thousands of dollars.
Low said he hasn’t seen the final results of the fundraiser, but “I was kind of blown away, it definitely left me and my family a little speechless… at the same time, it’s not surprising with that community. Teaching at different schools… something about that tight-knit community in Lake Country… just everyone pulls together. It’s a remarkable thing to see.”
This is Low’s sixth year at the elementary school. A resident of Kelowna with his wife Angelina and three-year-old daughter Mackenzie, Low has taught in both West Kelowna and Kelowna before teaching in Lake Country.
Low was diagnosed with leukemia three years ago, and friends, family and the school held their first fundraiser with a GoFundMe campaign.
For the second time, Low said he was against the idea because one fundraiser was already held. “They did more than enough the first time. Knowing Janet and her big heart I think she took my words into consideration (but still held the second one).”