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Rock Hill school raises almost $3,000 for single mom of 5 battling cancer

She was diagnosed with stage four cancer in May
Published: Dec. 10, 2021 at 6:12 PM EST
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ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) - We all might have a personal relationship with someone who is battling or has battled cancer.

Those with the disease often get bombarded with medical bills that can pile up over time. That is the story of a single mother of five right here in the Rock Hill area.

In May of this year, she was diagnosed with stage four colorectal cancer. The cancer spread from her colon to her lungs.

She says she even has a blood clot in her lungs right now from the cancer. However, the mom is still smiling and today she had a reason to smile even bigger as students at a local high school gave her a huge surprise.

Excited murmuring from the Legion Collegiate Academy students filled the gym on Friday.

”We were having an assembly. We have that usually every Friday,” said Liam Graham, a senior.

This assembly was different though. Students spent November raising money for this woman, Lattressy Barber. It was all a part of No Shave November.

”It’s been depressing and trying to rebuild and stay strong,” said Barber. “Knowing you have stage four everybody always thinks of death when they hear stage four.”

Lance Roberts, a character class teacher at the school who put this together, met Barber through the Levine Cancer Center. He says he went into the center in Rock Hill one day looking for someone to bless with the gift that would eventually come. He had no luck, until he talked to a receptionist.

The receptionist led him to a person who asked nurses who the best person for a gift like this would be. After thinking about it hard, they came up with a name.

”I really wanted this to go to somebody that lived in this community,” said Roberts. “They spoke to the nurses and they said we have the perfect person. And that’s how I met Latressy.”

He told students whoever donated the most money would be able to shave off his beard. So one by one as their names were called, they lined up and got to work. Six students in total got the honor of shaving off Roberts’s beard. He was glad to see it go.

”Honestly I wasn’t worried a bit. I really wasn’t. That was a great group of kids that all represented the top donors,” he said.

Graham was one of those students donating $85 of his own money to the cause. He makes money helping a company with Christmas decorations during the holiday season.

”I’m just a kid in high school I’m not spending it on anything I really need so it’s great to be able to give it to someone that needs the money,” said Graham.

Then, it was time for the big reveal. A big check for close to a whopping $3,000 all for Barber and her family. Barber was overcome with emotion knowing she will be able to buy her five kids Christmas presents this year.

”Today when I was hearing the cheers it was like I forgot I even had cancer. I was like this, ‘Is for me this is for me?’” said Barber.

As the assembly winded down and the students took a moment of silence to remember those who battle cancer or passed from it, tears fell. The song “Hero” by Mariah Carey played over the speakers as students and faculty hugged each other. For Barber, all she saw was the hope of hundreds of students behind her.

”I couldn’t stop crying. I was just like thank you. Thank you. To hear so many of them encouraging me and to get that strength from someone else…I love it,” she said.

Roberts says it is great to see his students use what they learn right here in his classroom and put it out into the world.

If anyone would like to donate to the cause, there are several ways to do so. There is a GoFundMe here or directly to her cashapp, which is $LatressyBarber. People can also send checks made payable to Barber and send them here: Legion Collegiate Academy, 3090 Long Meadow Road, Rock Hill, SC 29730.

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