Travis elementary students rally around teacher’s son battling heart defect

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ODESSA,Texas (Big 2 / Fox 24) – Students and staff at Travis Elementary School came together on Tuesday to show support for their beloved teacher’s son who needs a heart transplant.

For his entire life 18 year-old Niko Mclemore has been battling through a heart defect, and these few months have been the most challenging. Niko’s mother Shannakay Mclemore is a teacher at Travis Elementary and has spent months out of the classroom to care for her son. But even thought Mclemore is not with her students and colleagues , they are still showing they’re love.

“The whole staff has just rallied around her sent thoughts, sent prayers, sent cards ,sent gift cards to Mrs. Mcelmore, said Amy Russell, Principal at Travis Elementary. “We told her the number one thing she need to take care of was her 18 year-old son Niko.”

Through out the day students got to hear about Niko’s story while he virtually talked to his mother’s class. Since Tuesday was Niko’s birthday, students not only in Mcelmore’s class but through out the school honored Niko with messages of love and hope.

“Rallying together we realized we needed this day maybe even more than Niko needed this day,” Russell said. “Because it has brought us together, we’re not thinking about COVID today, we’re not thinking about people in the hospitals today, we’re thinking about healthy hearts and getting out a being healthy.”

While all the students have been sending support to their beloved Mrs. Mcelmore, so have the other teachers.

“It’s just amazing to me how the whole staff the whole team has come together to really make sure that Mrs.Mcelmore is taken care of,” said Jaclyn Wood, a teacher at Travis Elementary. “We have teachers that have donated their sick time for Mrs. Mcelmore so she’s able to be home for her family and not go the whole time without a paycheck.”

Mrs. Mclemore told her class that this year has been difficult for her family, but seeing all this support has made fighting this battle a little easier

“It’s working. he’s getting stronger,” Mcelmore said. “We’re just hoping he continues to get stronger and I will be able to come back.”

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