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Teacher Continues to Inspire Many after Her Death


A committed educator bravely fought her battle with cancer until the very end. Knowing she would soon pass away, she decided to make a selfless request to impact other students even after she was gone.

A Longtime Passion

Tammy Waddell worked for 30 years as a teacher and paraprofessional for Forsyth County Schools in Georgia. Her passion for teaching was undeniable and earned her the county’s Elementary School Teacher of the Year Award in 2003. Her work even inspired her son, Kevin, to also become a teacher at Forsyth County.

Facebook / Tammy Meadows Waddell

In the midst of living out her dream of reaching kids, Tammy was rediagnosed with colon cancer. She had beat it once before, but it reared its ugly head again. This time, doctors didn’t give her long to live.

One Final Wish

Tammy sadly passed away at the age of 58, but not before making a decision that would positively impact more children. Knowing her time was near, the teacher made a last wish to be carried out at her funeral. Instead of flowers at her service, she wanted people to donate backpacks with school supplies for needy kids!

Twitter / Dr. Brad Johnson

Many people obliged, lining the pews of the church with backpacks that would serve kids who needed them. Tammy’s cousin, Dr. Brad Johnson, shared a touching picture of the backpacks online calling Tammy “a teacher to the end.” He added in an interview, “She always felt a bond to students in need, whether they need[ed] supplies or a hug. She thought they needed backpacks more than she needed flowers.”

Inspiring The World

Even in death, Tammy is inspiring others across the globe with her selfless act. Not only had she made an impact on students and teachers in her area, but this story has moved many others from all over.

Twitter / Dr. Brad Johnson

In fact, an education organization in the U.K. saw photos from Tammy’s memorial and wanted to help. That organization plans to send even more backpacks to Forsyth County in honor of Tammy’s life and legacy.

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