Julie Loland, beloved teacher, serenaded before dying
37-year-old teacher at Terry Fox Elementary in Abbotsford, B.C., died from cancer last week
Before 37-year-old Julie Loland, who had terminal cancer, died in Abbotsford Regional Hospital last week, she got one last visit from the young students at the school where she taught.
A week ago, on Thursday, almost all of the students at Terry Fox Elementary, located east of Vancouver, turned up outside her hospital room, and sang her the school song — ending with a group "We love you, Mrs. Loland."
The Grade 2 teacher waved from the window, but the song and greeting turned out to be a parting gift.
She passed away the next morning.
Some of her students are coping by making art, and some are helping with fundraisers for her family — a husband and three boys — who are going through a difficult transition.
Coleen Gregory, a friend and fellow-teacher, said the children's ongoing love for Mrs. Loland is inspiring.
"It's amazing how something so horrible and devastating has created such beauty in our community," she said.
"The kids have really rallied around the idea of supporting her and supporting her family."
Julie Loland's memorial service is being held today, Feb. 7, at Northview Community Church in Abbotsford, B.C., at 11 a.m. PT.
Click the video player above to hear more from the Terry Fox students.
With files from the CBC's Tim Weekes