If you know anybody who has ever struggled against cancer, you know just how emotional and hurtful the disease can be.
According to statistics from the National Cancer Institute from 2018, some 1.7 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States within the year.
Similarly, around 600,000 people will die from it as well. Though there’s no cure for the disease as of yet, what’s true beyond a doubt is that it takes a ton of determination to recover—and that the love of family and friends can make the whole process a little easier.
And this story shows just how true that is.
The story begins with choir teacher Gabrielyn Watson in Chicago, Illinois.
Like so many other Americans, Watson was diagnosed with cancer, specifically multiple myeloma, a version of the disease that affects the white blood cells.
To make her recovery, she had to take seven months off from teaching to go through intensive chemotherapy. Although plenty of people don’t get better from a disease so severe, Watson persevered and finally came back to her school for what she thought were teacher interviews.
Little did she know that there was a heart-warming surprise in wait for her.
As she walked down the hallway, some of her old students suddenly appeared from behind a doorway and started singing “Amazing Grace.”
As soon as Watson realized what was happening, her jaw dropped to the floor. A moment later, she covered her face as tears began to well in her eyes, and collapsed to the ground, completely overcome with emotion.
Because Watson had been teaching at her school for more than 17 years, she’d touched the hearts of thousands of students—and they were eager for a way to repay their love and affection.
But as it turns out, one of the students behind the impromptu performance was already well-known for his vocal chops.
The student who organized the entire thing was Peter Frank, a season 10 finalist on American Idol.
Needless to say, the surprise went off without a hitch!
Although Frank and a few other students were the first ones to step out to surprise Watson, before long the whole hallway was filled with smiling, singing students. When it was all over, Frank came face-to-face with his old choir teacher to tell her exactly what she meant to him:
“Because of you, I’m everything I am today. And I really thank you.”
In the past, Watson had given Frank a tuxedo for a choir competition when he couldn’t afford to get one himself.
While the surprise itself was organized by the students, it was pulled off in partnership with Kleenex’s “Someone Needs One” campaign, designed to spread awareness of the emotional and sentimental moments that happen between everyday people in everyday situations.
Needless to say, Watson was hugely moved by the surprise—and the internet has definitely taken notice as well.
Aside from all the details, the surprise is a testament—both to how much a great teacher can touch us and to the power of music.
By teaching children music for 17 or more years, Watson helped inspire them to be strong, confident and to express their feelings. When the time came that Watson needed some emotional support of her own, all the students she’d touched over the years were there in a heartbeat to return the favor.
Congratulations to Ms. Watson’s students on pulling off such a perfect surprise! Be sure to watch the full thing below:
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Source: YouTube/Inside Edition