Family Life

Instead of flowers, a dying teacher makes a special funeral request

Tammy Waddell never let cancer get in the way of being an amazing teacher- even at the end. 

Waddell passed away last month after decades of teaching in Forsyth County, Georgia. Her final request that schoolbags full of supplies for children in need line the church instead of flowers. 

The poignant scene was shared on Twitter by Dr. Brad Johnson, her cousin and fellow educator. 

"A teacher to the end," he wrote, it's hard not to agree to that. 

“She discussed it with her kids when she realised she wasn't going to make it,” Johnson told Scary Mommy. “It was her last lesson, always think of others, always serving others." 

As well as changing the lives of her students, Waddell also had a massive impact on her fellow teachers, 100 formed a guard of honour holding donated backpacks. 

“I think it shows the power of teaching and the importance of teaching,” Johnson said.

After going viral, Waddell's final act of kindness has inspired generosity from educators across the world. According to CBS, an educational organisation in the United Kingdom even saw the post and decided to help further Waddell’s impact by donating bags from afar. 

“As far as the reaction, in the world with so much negativity, I think it resonated hope in people,” Johnson said. “Someone wrote that the chapel full of backpacks looked like a Garden of Hope. Her final lesson was to give hope to others through service to others.”

We hope that Waddell rests in peace, knowing that she's made the world a better place. 

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