Pupils help raise £19k for brain-tu­mour teacher af­ter he is put on half-pay

Sunday Mail (UK) - - News -

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

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