Community rallies around Birmingham teacher with cancer

Teacher Chad Rutherford diagnosed with cancer in December, now community is rallying around him


BIRMINGHAM, Mich. – Chad Rutherford has only just begun his teaching career, but he's already a favorite among students at Harlan Elementary school.

"He's a really energetic and a fun teacher, he makes the learning really, really fun," 5th-grader Lizzy Pedersen said. 

"He does stuff no other teacher does, and he makes learning fun," Grace Ordona, a student in Rutherford's class, said.

So it certainly came as a shock last December, just before the holiday break, to get the news that the 29-year-old father was diagnosed with advanced Colorectal cancer that has spread to his liver.

"He is a beloved teacher, colleague, friend and people want to do whatever they can to support him," Lisa Simonte, a fellow teacher and friend, said.

Chad didn't return to school in the new year as he begins chemotherapy treatments. His students have been keeping in touch.

"We made cards and we had a big basket of goodies and stuff," Ordona said.

"We made bracelets that say 'Team Rutherford' on them," Pedersen said.

The teachers at Harlan Elementary school wanted to do more, something to help Rutherford with his growing medical costs.

"It isn't easy for him and his family and he does not have a lot," Simonte said. "He could use the support in many ways."

So Harlan Elementary, Birmingham schools, plus the community have come together for a 'Rally for the Rutherfords" a fundraiser that's being held on Wednesday night.

"It's a pasta dinner, a local DJ offered their services, many performers will be performing on stage, it's lots of family fun," Sara Cibor, another teacher at Harlan, said.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will go directly to Chad and his growing family. The Rutherfords welcomed their new daughter, Madison Faith, Monday morning.

The Rally for the Rutherfords is Wednesday, Feb. 27 between 5-8 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door.

To donate to the Rutherfords head to the Facebook page which has been set up in their honor. www.facebook.com/rallyfortherutherfords

About the Author: