Pupils help raise £19k for brain-tumour teacher after he is put on half-pay
Graeme Donohoe Pupils helped raise more than £ 19,000 in three days for their teacher suf fering from an incurable brain tumour.
Jamie Connelly has been unable to work since February after being struck down with the condition.
The 36-year-old was rushed to hospital with a seizure last November – a week before discovering wi fe Lisa was expecting their second child.
He revealed his family were struggling to makes ends meet after education bosses slashed his pay because he had been off.
But Bathgate Academy students have rallied to raise the incredible amount after the PE and guidance teacher set up a crowdfunding site.
Jamie, of Edinburgh, had hoped to raise just £5000.
Last night the figure had risen to a staggering £19,007.
Some of the cash will be used to pay for medical treatment.
In a poignant Just Giving post, desperate Jamie said: “I’ve been unable to work since February and have been reduced to half-pay.
“My wife Lisa is self-employed and only receives statutory maternity pay.
“We have a three- year- old daughter Jessica-Lily as well as our new arrival Lucy.
“Caring for us all and with me laid low means we don’t know when Lisa will be able to return to work.
“These circumstances have placed an enormous emotional and financial strain upon us.
“The money will help us greatly with alternative therapies which may be able to prolong my life and my time with my family.
“This is an ongoing fight and at some point this tumour will regrow more aggressively.”
Surgeons were only able to remove 50 per cent of the tumour from Jamie’s brain and he has just started a nine- month chemotherapy course in an attempt to prolong his life. He said: “A month after Christmas I underwent brain surgery to debulk the majority of the tumour. A part had spread into an area of my brain that the surgeon was uncomfortable trying to remove.
“The surgery removed 50 per cent plus of the tumour. After a three-week wait, biopsy results confirmed I have an incurable glioma tumour.
“I started radiotherapy, every day for six weeks, and last month I began what will be about nine months of chemotherapy.”
The Just Giving page was set up by Lisa’s best friend Susan Begley.
Susan said: “The amount of money raised is incredible.
“A lot of his past and present pupils have donated and it’s been amazing. It’s not an easy time.”
NeIther Jamie nor Lisa were available for comment but Lisa said on Facebook: “This has been the most overwhelming experience for Jamie and I.
“But the support and love from you all will carry us forward. Thank you truly from the bottom of my heart.”
Some angry parents have called for West Lothian Council to put Jamie back on full pay.
A West Lothian Counci l spokesman said: “Jamie Connelly is a much- loved col league, friend and teacher at Bathgate Academy. West Lothian Council follow national guidance on sickness absence pay for local government employees.
“Employees who have worked with the council for five years and over and are off long-term sick will receive six months’ full pay, then six months’ half pay. They may also be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay.”
POIGNANT Jamie with new-born Lucy BIG DAY Jamie, Lisa and Jessica Lily at wedding SUPPORT Jamie’s school
TOUCHED Jamie, Lisa and daughter Jessica-Lily