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Rocklin students rally around teacher battling cancer

Team Shannon raises thousands for family
By: Andrew Westrope, Staff Writer
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Rocklin English teacher Shannon Maveety’s students know what a difference one person can make in the life of another.

Inspired by Maveety’s interest and encouragement in her life, former student Haley Caddow has recruited many of the teacher’s friends and students to return the favor with “Team Shannon,” a Facebook support group to help Maveety’s family through her ongoing battle with cancer.

Maveety, a popular English teacher at Granite Oaks Middle School, has been through several bouts of chemotherapy since being diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma in 2009. When Caddow heard Maveety had been sent home from hospice last month, she wasted no time in gathering the troops.

“Shannon was my seventh-grade teacher, and after seventh grade ended, we kept in contact, and I was close to her family. So when I found out that she was home from hospice … I decided to go ahead and do it,” she said. “She’s been such a cheerleader for me, for everything that I’ve done, and she’s been supportive for every one of her students. She’s not like a normal teacher. She takes on individual relationships with each one of her students.”

As she began organizing fundraisers, Caddow found good will in ample supply. In less than five weeks, Team Shannon raised $6,000 through a website fundraiser with Skin365 in Torrance and more than $1,500 from a pizza and t-shirt fundraiser at The Pizza Place. Supporters bought 140 customized “Never give up!” shirts in the first four days of sale, and the producer, Design 2 A Tee, donated its profits to the cause.

All donations go into a fund for future education and school events for Maveety’s two young sons, Marcus and T.J.

Another former student involved with Team Shannon, 15-year-old Brooke Sutton, was one of many who said they joined the cause to repay a debt of kindness.

“Shannon was my eighth-grade teacher, and I’m a sophomore now. We’ve always had a really close relationship, especially when I was her student. I would always text her and call and stuff,” she said. “She had cancer (during my class) also, but then she was free of it for a year, and then it came back … Then I saw everything about Team Shannon, so I contacted Haley about it and asked if she needed any help, so I started helping out by making posters and the t-shirt fundraiser.”

Molly Daysh, a friend of Maveety’s, also intends to organize a walk-a-thon at Granite Oaks in May or early June, in the spirit of her lifelong athleticism as a runner. Daysh said generosity is a quality Maveety seems to inspire in people.

“I’ve known Shannon for about 13 years now,” she said. “She inspires people that don’t even know her. She has this charisma about her that makes people at ease and want to talk to her and befriend her. She has this zest for life that most people don’t have.”

Kimberly London, parent of a former student, said Caddow continues to receive so many cards and checks for the fundraiser that she will have to start an official website to account for them all. London said the show of support is a fitting testament to Maveety’s life lesson of selflessness, taught by example, and the motivational power of love.

“It’s about everybody else. When she was sick and you’d go visit her, she’d say, ‘How are you doing?’ It was always, ‘How are your kids?’ She told Haley, ‘This is your time to shine,’” she said. “There’s nobody like her on this earth. God put her here for a special purpose.”

When Maveety showed up to thank her supporters at last week’s t-shirt and pizza fundraiser, she met the hugs, balloons and monetary gestures with humility and gratitude.

“I was overwhelmed that an 18-year-old would put all of the thrills of being 18 aside to give me any time, let alone what (Caddow) has done,” she said. “This community, there’s nothing like it.”

Mystified by the effect she seems to have on people, Maveety said her primary lesson for friends and family was always a simple one: “I just want them all to know I love them.”