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Colleagues, former students rally for beloved Dinwiddie teacher battling cancer

Posted at 6:20 PM, Feb 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-04 19:47:38-05

DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. -- Laurel Bishop is one of two agriculture teachers at Dinwiddie County High School. The other, is more than just the teacher in the next classroom.

"So, my mom, Cindy Blaha is the other Ag Teacher and FFA Advisor,” said Laurel Bishop.

For the first time in seven years, the pair aren't teaching side by side.

"Coming to work is definitely not an escape, cause it's a constant reminder of the fact that my mom’s sick and she's not here,” said Bishop.

This past summer, doctors found a mass on Blaha’s chest and she was diagnosed with Lymphoma.

“The doctors were really optimistic, but they knew she would have to go through chemo, and it would be a pretty lengthy treatment,” said Bishop.

Out on medical leave, a former student of Blaha's is now teaching the class.

"It's a lot, trying to get everything right, so what she likes, I want to make sure everything is just the way she wants it,” said Thomas Davis.

With 32 years in the classroom, Blaha is teaching the children of former students.

Her commitment in the classroom is not forgotten by graduates like Chris Bielmyer.

"A great teacher, tough on you when you needed somebody tough, but fair,” said Bielmyer.

Now, Bielmyer and the Dinwiddie FFA Alumni Chapter are holding a fundraiser for their former advisor.

"Jimmy's Grill out of Petersburg will be catering the meal, it's 25 dollars a ticket,” he said.

Food will include beef brisket, fried chicken wings and tenders, spiced steamed shrimp, mini crab cakes, country ham Hawaiian rolls and much more.

There will also be a silent auction and 50/50 raffle. The event will take place February 8 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

All proceeds will go to help support Cindy Blaha.