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State program allows teachers to donate sick leave

One teacher told WAAY 31 she had more than 50 days donated to her, and she just joined the bank in January.

Posted: Jan. 25, 2018 4:45 PM
Updated: Jan. 25, 2018 5:05 PM

A Huntsville City schools teacher is going through the fight of her life and told WAAY 31 when she was diagnosed she had no idea how she was going to get paid and take sick leave.

After Lisa Champion's diagnosis, she learned about a state program called the "sick leave bank." The bank allows for other teachers to donate their sick time.

"Without the sick leave bank to help me through then I would have to not only lose my pay from teaching, but I'd also have to pay my own insurance to get through the cobra part of it which could be $700 to $1,000 a month," she said.

Champion is battling breast cancer for the second time.

She's a teacher a Providence Elementary School. She learned back in October her cancer was back.

Champion has been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer that had spread to her liver.

Champion told us she knew she didn't have enough sick days for this round of cancer, and she had used most of her accumulated sick days after her first diagnosis.

"I knew I used a lot of it when I had the breast cancer. They said you have to be a part of the sick leave bank, so I called them up and they said you can only join in January or at the start of school in August or September," she explained.

Now she's hoping anyone who teaches in the Tennessee Valley will call their school district to join the bank before it's too late.

Champion told us she's had more than 50 days donated to her, and she just joined the bank in January.

"I've had people from friends of friends from others donate. You can donate days from other systems, which I didn't know because it's a statewide thing. I have friends that teach in the counties around here give me sick leave," she told WAAY 31.

Those 50 days Champion figured should get her close to spring break.

Now she wants to share her thanks for everybody who's donated to her sick leave bank.

"It has meant so much peace to me to know that I can just concentrate on getting better. It's like a show of love and support," she said.

Champion told WAAY 31 she has two more chemo treatments before the doctor will determine what's next, and she's hoping to be back in the classroom by the end of the year.

Champion told us her school, Providence Elementary is holding a toy driver currently in her honor. All toys donated will be given to kids battling cancer on Valentine's Day. Anyone would like to contribute can drop of toys at the school.

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