OLYMPIA, Wash. -- At Olympia High School students, teachers and parents arrived Friday night with hopes that it would be a game changer, not on the basketball court, but for a Coach. He received a life-changng diagnosis, and his community wanted to show their support.
The school decided to play the game between Olympia High School and Bellarmine in Todd McDougall's honor. McDougall is an English teacher, the baseball team's Head Coach, the football team's defensive coordinator, and most recently a cancer patient.
His sister, Vickie McDougall, said the diagnosis of stage 4 brain cancer arrived a week and a half before Christmas.
"Why him, why now? He’s got three little kids," said Vickie. "I even said, Lord take me instead. He is more important, but it is what God has planned and hopefully that plan has a miracle."
To boost the beloved teacher's spirits students wore t-shirts with Coach McDougall's name and were ready to cheer for him. The plan was for Coach McDougall to spend a night out of a hospital bed and in the front row of the basketball game. However, shortly before the game organizers learned that he could not attend.
"They had to do an MRI tonight and he just wasn’t feeling well afterwards," said family friend Julie Woods.
McDougall's three kids were at the game, and a special message of support was read aloud. Students in the stands chanted his name.
"It was emotional to see those kids just instantly break out in cheers for him because they love him," said Woods.
McDougall's fellow teachers and friends said they have raised nearly $20,000 to help with his medical bills.
He will soon begin chemotherapy and radiation for the brain tumor.