Students and staff raise $4000 for Hambledon State School teacher as he faces cancer battle
AS HE prepares to send his students on school holidays, popular Hambledon State School teacher Luke Westaway, 30, is also gearing up for the fight of his life.
Mr Westaway was told three weeks ago a malignant brain tumour, discovered when he was 22, had returned for a fourth time. In the past eight years he has endured bouts of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy to fight the disease.
Mr Westaway, or "Westy'' as he is known to friends and colleagues, is positive the tumour won't beat him.
"When you have good family, friends and colleagues, it makes all the difference,'' he said.
Described by Hambledon State School teachers and students as "destined to be a teacher'', "popular'' and "passionate'', Mr Westaway said he was overwhelmed by a fundraiser at the school yesterday in which the wider school community raised $4000, and wore fake beards and muscles for a "Dress like Mr Westaway Day''.
Hambledon State School acting principal Meaghan Rodgers said the wider school community would do anything to help its beloved teacher, who was in the middle of grading Year 7 report cards when he was told the tumour had returned.
"We were devastated when we heard Luke's tumour had returned because we had seen what he had gone through with previous tumours,'' she said.
"The school community would like to see that the treatment he pursues eradicates this tumour and it stops coming back.
Hambledon State School Year 4 students Alexandra and Jasmine Frangos both chipped in to shave Mr Westaway's beard off during a whole of school assembly yesterday. The twins said they were happy with their efforts.
"It was exciting,'' Alexandra said. "He looks pretty cute without his beard.''
During his six-week school holiday break, Mr Westaway will head to Sydney for a consultation with renowned neurosurgeon Dr Charles Teo.
To donate to Mr Westaway's treatment, contact the Dr Edward Koch Foundation on 4031 0145.
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Class acts: Hambledon State School is showing support for teacher Luke Westaway with students Alex Frangos, Brendan Macalonan, Isaac Crooks, Nathan Barker and Jasmine Frangos dressing up to help raise money for his cancer treatment. Pic: MARC McCORMACK