Pittsylvania Co. School Teachers Unite to Help One of Their Own

Jordan Parker's daughter

Pittsylvania Co., VA - The Pittsylvania County community is coming together to support a family in their time of need.

One of their PE teachers, Jordan Parker, appealed to the school board for extended leave to be by his daughter's side as she battles leukemia, and the board responded in a big way.

Baby Claire is just like any 11-month-old: happy and full of life, but things took a turn last month when she was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia.

"It was kind of a blow at first but, we knew that God had a big plan for it and it was a reason while all this was happening," said Parker.

Claire's parents are both teachers in Pittsylvania County Schools. Claire's mother, Connie, took permanent leave to be with Claire at Duke University Hospital, but Jordan wasn't sure how he would be able to keep his job and still be there for his little girl. That's where his fellow teachers stepped in.

"At least this is one thing that they don't have to worry about," said Chastity Wertz, a teacher at Mt. Airy Elementary School.

Teachers across the county wanted to donate their sick days to Jordan.

"We are a family, we come together for everything, we support each other," said Ellen Mayhew, another teacher.

The only thing that stood in the way was a policy which set a maximum on how many days a teacher could donate, but Tuesday, the board voted unanimously to allow Parker to accept enough donated leave to carry him through Christmas.

For all involved, the board's support came as a big relief.

"It made us all feel so good and Jordan can be there to support Connie and Claire, and that's where he needs to be," said Wertz.

Claire will continue treatment for the next several months, but her parents hope she will get a few days at home around Christmas.

The family says they appreciate all of the support from the school system and folks throughout the community.