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Saltus rallies around staff battling cancer

The Saltus community is today rallying around two popular faculty members, in a bid to help with their medical expenses as both battle cancer.

For ‘Saltus Family Day’, students are holding a fundraising popsicle and grub day for Upper Primary Physical Education teacher Tyler Hall, 46, and Academic Services director Karen Lusher, 51.

The campaign was launched as the school announced $120,000 had been raised for the cancer fundraiser St Baldrick’s.

Mr Hall, currently in Boston for treatment, has taught for 16 years at Saltus, explained Upper Primary director Tracy Renaud.

“It’s been difficult for the students to understand, at this age level, but we’ve made it a very positive thing — they both want us to have a fun day,” Ms Renaud said.

“We’ve explained that they’ve been sick and need our help. Parents are very good at explaining, so we’ve left that part to them.”

Much-loved teacher Mrs Lusher is getting treatment locally but may have to travel overseas, she said.

“Of course, Karen, being the way she is, she wants all the attention to be on Tyler.”

Saltus alumni relations director John Beard said: “Karen was the first person to get her hair cut at the St Baldrick’s assembly that day, because she knew she would have to lose her hair through chemotherapy.

“She went up there first to show the children what it’s like and not to be frightened. It’s important our students learn the good of helping the wider community, but also the importance of helping our own community when help is needed. When you need that help, it’s good to know there’s support that’s not necessarily just financial.”

Adding that he lost his wife Jennie to cancer four years ago, Mr Beard said: “In our community and in Bermuda, you would be struggling to find people who have never been touched in some way by cancer. Saltus has a number of people, whether teachers, parents, or even children, who have dealt with this one way or another.”

Mr Hall and his wife Helen have a son, Adam, who attended Saltus and is now a promising baseball player.

Mrs Lusher and her husband Chris have daughters Ally and Kelby, both of whom are Saltus alumni.

The Saltus Family Fund is also taking donations from parents through the school’s website, which has an account to support both teachers in their medical expenses.

Outgoing Saltus Principal Ted Staunton said: “When the senior management team at Saltus heard about Tyler and Karen’s condition, we wanted to show our support in a meaningful way. They have contributed so much to the school over many years, and assisted so many students, that a full Saltus community campaign — students, parents, staff, trustees and alumni — seemed appropriate. In typical Saltus style, there has been a significant outpouring of support.”

Useful website: www.saltus.bm

Karen Lusher, Saltus' Academic Services Director, has her hair cut during the St Baldrick's charity event. Ms Lusher is battling breast cancer, five years after she thought she had beaten the disease.

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Published May 03, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated May 02, 2013 at 8:41 pm)

Saltus rallies around staff battling cancer

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