Seven Oaks Elementary School will host a pizza party fundraiser Saturday evening for a longtime teacher recently diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The Lacey school has pulled together in support of teacher Tim Bittrick, who was diagnosed in early December. The school has assembled a support system and put it into action.
It started with the Facebook page “Team Bittrick,” which was created for members to offer well wishes, share memories, and coordinate contributions for the Bittrick family.
“I am deeply touched by the support and love of my family, friends and colleagues (in the Facebook group),” Bittrick said. “It gives me strength and lifts my spirits daily.”
Bittrick said his ALS has unfortunately been progressing quicker than expected, but he plans to stay at Seven Oaks for the remainder of the school year.
With the help of parent volunteers, fellow Seven Oaks teacher Laurie Jones organized and planned Saturday’s Tim Bittrick Celebration: a pizza party with a bake sale, carnival games, raffles, a photo booth and a pie-in-the-face contest. The event will run 5-7 p.m. at the school. Attendees also can purchase student artwork, Team Bittrick T-shirts and other goodies with all proceeds going to the Bittrick family to help fund the extended health care Bittrick will need at home.
“The truth is, I am told that the expenses to victims of ALS are outrageously hard on families. I’m honored by the efforts of my Seven Oaks family to help,” Bittrick said.
Jones said there is no specific monetary goal set for the event.
“We had a practical conversation that the purpose is not just to raise money for Tim’s care but raise spirits,” said Jones. “He’s just amazing.”
That sentiment is echoed on the Team Bittrick Facebook page.
“He touched my life in such a way that I’m still trying to repay the man for all he did,” said former student Joshua Brooks.
Jones said, “The outpour of people’s support and genuine care to get involved in any way to support Tim is a testament to him, what he stands for and the compassion he’s taught his students for nearly 30 years.”