A New Hampshire principal, who was brought to tears after her senior class donated money to her cancer battle, is now fighting for one of the students who was recently diagnosed with kidney cancer.
Courtney Vashaw, principal at Profile Junior-Senior High School in Bethlehem, was diagnosed with a rare cancer of the soft tissue earlier this year and has undergone surgery and radiation therapy. Vashaw's senior class at the school donated the $8,000 saved for their senior trip to Vashaw's cancer treatment this spring, which brought the long-time principal to tears during the announcement.
"I feel like this has been a beautiful experience as an educator," she told ABC News at the time. "You work so hard to try and help cultivate not only academically astute young people but kids who care. I am just so impressed and so proud of these kids for being the embodiment of that."
But as Vashaw continues her treatment, she is aiming to help one of those students, Aurora Brown, who Vashaw said was diagnosed with kidney cancer months after she graduated high school.
Brown was diagnosed during her freshman year at New Hampshire’s Plymouth State University. Vashaw said she was heartbroken to hear the news about Brown's diagnosis.
"I feel like all of these kids deserve a bye," Vashaw told ABC News. "I couldn't really believe it when she reached out to me."
Vashaw said she hoped to help Brown get the support she needs as she goes through treatment.
"She was so gracious. ... She said, 'I can do this, because you showed me you can be strong,'" Vashaw recounted.
Brown did not respond to requests for comment but wrote about the experience on her online fundraising page.
"My health is the most important thing in my life, but going to college is very important to me," Brown wrote on her online fundraising page, saying she wants to eventually become a U.S. Marshal. "This has been my dream for many years and the only thing stopping me is my financial situation."
Vashaw said talking to Brown has made her think about what kind of support is available to young people when they are diagnosed with cancer.
"There are so many people out there who are struggling with this and many people do not have resources they need to get the right care," Vashaw said.
"Young adult cancer is a difficult thing; they're in the thick of their lives, trying to work and have families."