Guilford County, NC - A Guilford County teacher is fighting for his life, but thankfully, Ray Parrish has the support of his entire community. Parrish was diagnosed with brain cancer in December, but his Northwest Guilford High School family isn't letting him go through this battle alone.
WFMY News 2's Tracey McCain spoke with his students and colleagues at Northwest who are all coming together to help their beloved teacher.
"He's always been one of my favorite teachers," said student Sarah Spiker. "He tries to be strong for us," said Spiker's classmate Elyse Pizzella. "He's trying to inspire us and be an example for us and he has been," she said.
Those are just some of the students pulling for Parrish to get better. "It's been hard for this year going through class without him because he's the heart and soul of, 'We The People,'" said Spiker.
Parrish's 'We The People' U.S. History class has won the state competition 15 out of the last 16 years. "This is a man who represents everything that's right in education," said fellow teacher, Greg Shue. "If we had a 1000 Ray Parrishes in Guilford County, we would be off the charts," he said.
Parrish was diagnosed with Astrocytoma; a form of brain cancer, right before Christmas 2012. From the moment his colleagues, students and their parents found out, there's been a community-wide effort to support Ray and pray.
"His spirits are good and his faith is incredibly strong," said teacher Phillip Coley. "He's really been a rock for him and his family and his colleagues as well.
With a donation page, a run on Saturday, March 9th and a concert next Friday, March 15th, everyone is getting involved.
"So far we've raised a few thousand dollars and we hope to raise a few thousand more because chemo and radiation aren't cheap," said Coley.
But it's through a YouTube video that they hope to get pop star singer Beyonce's attention.
"It's really hard hearing someone you care about has brain cancer," said senior Zach Wienner. "He's been so strong through it. He almost looks at it as a blessing rather than a curse and that's something that you don't see every day especially with cancer patients," he said.
While the school prays for ray, the plan to raise thousands of dollars to take care of his medical expenses moves forward. "He wants to get back in the classroom," said Wienner. "His life truly is teaching."
And of all the lessons Ray Parrish has taught his students, perhaps, the biggest one he's sharing is about faith, strength and love. "We're trying to bring a guy back and healthy and do what he's done for two decades and that's help kids and help students," said Coley.
Parrish graduated from Northwest, and then came back to teach U.S. History, which he's done there for 20 years.
There are several ways you can participate in this effort to help him. Ray's Run is this Saturday, March 9th in Oak Ridge. You can sign up on line or on race day. There's also a benefit concert starring Landon Parker and the Band on Friday, March 15th. It's in the Northwest High School auditorium from 7 to 9pm. You can buy tickets during school hours or at the door for $7.
Here are the links to the websites:
WFMY News 2