A group of Alabama high school teachers did an incredibly selfless thing for a colleague whose infant daughter was diagnosed with cancer. After David Green, a teacher and football coach at Mae Jemison High School in Huntsville, ran out of sick days, fellow educators from across the state pulled their own sick days — 100 in total.
The generous donation of paid time off came after Green’s wife, Megan, posted to Facebook last month, explaining their family’s situation. She noted that her husband wanted to spend as much time as possible with their 10 month old, Kinsley, who suffers from leukemia. But with the added expense of frequent doctor’s visits and chemotherapy, the family depends on his income now more than ever.
“David is officially out of sick days at work,” Megan Green wrote. “We want him to continue to be able to be with us at the hospital while Kinsley is getting chemotherapy, so if you are a teacher in the state of Alabama and are in a position to donate a sick day, we would greatly appreciate it!”
“Kinsley is the biggest daddy’s girl and needs him to be here as often as he can,” she added, “so she would be so thankful for any donated days so she can spend time with her Daddy.”
After the news spread, teachers and administrators from all over Alabama pulled through for Green, offering him 100 sick days — far more than the 40 or so he needed to be able to care for his daughter.
“One of our teachers took the news story and email[ed] it out to the entire faculty,” Goldsmith Schiffman Elementary principal, Jennifer Douthit, told WHNT-TV.
“You know, you want to send words of encouragement, you want to do something to help, but this was a real physical way that we could help him and his family,” Anna Kachelman, a first-grade teacher, told the station.
Anyone familiar with the Green family’s story can tell you they are most deserving of such an outpouring of love. In the face of many parents’ worst nightmare, Megan and Dave have held fast to their Christian faith, becoming a shining example of what it means to hope in Christ.
A devastating discovery
Writing for Love What Matters earlier this month, Megan Green opened up about her family’s journey and the faith that has sustained them through Kinsley’s battle.
“Kinsley was the best baby. The kind of baby other mothers would be jealous of. She slept great, she ate great, she was always so happy. Until she wasn’t,” she wrote.
Quite suddenly, the Greens began to notice a shift in their typically cheerful daughter’s personality.
“Something just wasn’t right. Kinsley stopped sleeping through the night. She had a diaper rash that we couldn’t control. She was constantly fussy, and the days seemed like years. My mom instincts were on high alert, and over the next [three] weeks, we had [one] well visit and [three] sick visits to the pediatrician,” Megan wrote.
Then one day, she noticed a rash on Kinsley’s leg. Thinking it was probably a reaction to a new onesie she forgot to pre-wash, Megan took her daughter to get checked out anyway. That was the beginning of a devastating discovery.
“Once Kinsley and I walked through the door, our pediatrician took one look at Kinsley and told us to head to the emergency room at Huntsville Hospital,” she wrote.
After running a battery of tests, doctors informed the worried mother her daughter had leukemia. Since that fateful day in October, the Greens have had to adjust to a new, painful reality.
“I will spare you all of the medical details and jargon. But to say things have been easy since those few days is far from the truth,” Megan shared. “On top of the side effects of chemo, she also has developed other complications. Twice now, doctors have walked in the room to tell us of a complication that in some cases could be fatal. Twice God has helped Kinsley defy the odds. Kinsley battled a fungal infection, pneumatosis, fevers, viruses, and mucositis. She has overcome all of these, but because of her compromised immune system from chemo, she runs the risk of new complications coming into play daily.”
Abiding in faith
Despite what have been a grueling six months, Dave and Megan have clung firmer than ever to their faith in Christ.
In February, Megan shared an update to Facebook, offering a beautiful explanation for why she doesn’t “blame God” for Kinsley’s illness.
“Although I don’t believe God did this, I do believe He alone is using it for His glory,” she wrote. “He is healing Kinsley. A complete and miraculous healing. Yes, there are trials. Nothing has gone as planned. We have jumped through many hurdles and overcome many complications. But my God is healing Kinsley.”
Megan expressed her dislike for the phrase, “God gives His toughest battles to His strongest soldiers,” noting that God doesn’t ever will evil things for us. Instead, she believes that God is using this ugly disease to strengthen her family and lead others to Him.
“He is putting a mark on our life, on Kinsley’s life, that will help us draw people closer to Him. He is indeed making us stronger soldiers for Christ,” she wrote.
Hope ahead of healing
In an interview with Faithwire, Megan opened up about how Kinsley’s illness has shaped her and her husband’s faith.
“We have always had a relationship with Christ, but honestly, things change when you are in our situation,” she shared. “We have really learned to cling to Him and put 100 percent of our trust in His plan for her. We have full faith that He is healing Kinsley in His way and in His time. God is with us and has been with us every day of this journey. He is here in the good days and the bad days. He has shown His presence in ways that only he could have orchestrated.”
Green noted that her family’s decision to trust Christ amid great pain and uncertainty has led others to do the same.
“I think for others to see that we have clung to Christ through each trial, through each time that the doctors have come in with scary news has shown others that they can do the same,” she said. “I have been amazed at the amount of people that have told us that our faith through this journey has made them pull closer to Christ.”
For other parents who may find their faith waning after seeing their child suffer from an illness or disability, Megan offered some sound advice: draw from Christ’s strength.
“The devil will always try to attack you in your area of weakness,” she said. “Find time in the day even if it is one minute here and there to spend time with Him. He is the only one who can pull you through the situation you are in. He wants the best for your child because they were His child first. He is the only one who loves your child more than you do. He did not cause or give your child whatever they are facing. But He can and will walk the path with you and He will battle day in and day out for you and your child.”
Kinsley is close to completing her third round of chemotherapy out of five. After she completes the fifth round of inpatient chemotherapy, she will then face two years of “maintenance chemotherapy,” which will require only one hospital visit per week.
What the Green family needs now more than ever is prayer. Megan told Faithwire her primary motivation in sharing her daughter’s story is that she firmly believes in the power of prayer and “wanted as many prayer warriors praying for Kinsley as possible.”
“Our prayer requests at this time are complete healing for Kinsley,” she said. “She still has a long road ahead and we are claiming that at the end she will be cancer free and that it will never return!”