To the Teacher Who Came to Me When Ulcerative Colitis Kept Me Out of School

In fourth grade, I was hospitalized for a week with an extremely bad ulcerative colitis flare-up. It took me a long time to recover from this, so I was out of school for a little over a month. My mom fought relentlessly for me to receive at-home instruction so I wouldn’t fall too far behind. The school district finally allowed my teacher to come for a few hours a week to keep me on pace with my peers.

This letter is for her. Here it goes:

Dear Mrs. Puleio,

I’ve never been able to figure out the right way to thank you.

Thank you for keeping me on track with everyone else academically so I would be on the same level as my peers.  Of course I’m grateful for all you’ve taught me, but you did so much more than just teach me.

You saw me at my worst. Some days I couldn’t make it out of bed, so you’d sit right beside my bed. I was seriously underweight, weak and losing blood quickly. But through all of this, when I was with you, I felt a sense of normalcy.

When I was sick, I felt that everything about me was different than others. But when you came over, I felt as though I was still “going to school” like all my friends were, and I never felt as though I was missing out (especially when we virtually dissected an owl pellet).

Not only did you provide me with a sense of normalcy, you were also a great support. I felt so comfortable with you. Your sensitivity and kindness made me feel at ease all the time.

I remember when you had the class write me “get well soon” cards. I still treasure those today; in fact, they are in the second drawer of my desk. You always thought of how to make me feel connected to the class even when I wasn’t there.

When I finally returned to school, I was very nervous. I looked different, I felt different and I just wasn’t sure how other people would see my return. And on my first day back, I remember you were so excited to see me at school, all my nerves vanished.

I don’t know what I would have done had you not been there for me. You are such an amazing person, and I wish there were more people like you in the world.

Love Always,

The Mighty is for the following: Write a thank you note to someone who helped you through a difficult time. What about that person makes him or her a good ally? What do you want them to know? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

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