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Ex-Fairfield Teacher Brightens Lives Of Kids With Cancer With Books

Fairfield teacher Kristin Golia raised about $3,500 to support a book drive for children with cancer at Yale-New Haven Hospital.
Fairfield teacher Kristin Golia raised about $3,500 to support a book drive for children with cancer at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Photo Credit: Contributed photo

FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- A mother of two from Easton and former Fairfield teacher is using books to brighten the lives of kids with cancer.

Kristin Golia will deliver the books to Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital. Golia, along with Usborne Books & More and Jessica Gerber, the mother of a boy who died from pediatric cancer, recently raised $3,500 to but the books.

The book drive was inspired by Golia's former student, Teddy Gerber, who died in 2010 of undifferentiated sarcoma, a rare and aggressive childhood cancer.

So much did young Teddy touch her life, when she got married in 2011, she and her new husband made a donation to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, an organization for children's cancer, instead of buying favors for their guests.

Teddy Gerber was a third grader at Osborn Hill School November 2009 when he was diagnosed. Golia was Teddy's teacher and also served as his tutor since he missed so much school.

During tutoring visits, she served as a messenger between Teddy and the classroom, relaying news back and forth.

Shortly after Teddy finished his treatments, he relapsed and spent the summer of 2010 in the hospital.

Golia visited him in the hospital, and at his home when he was able to leave briefly. One time she brought a snake to him for a visit because Teddy said he'd never held one.

Teddy died a little over a week later. When the new school year began, Golia welcomed his sister Gillian in her classroom and helped her through that difficult first year without her brother.

In April 2012 Teddy’s mother Jessica Gerber nominated Golia as a “Top Teacher” in a contest run by "Live with Kelly" and the teacher appeared on an episode in New York City.

The show rewarded her with a trip to Fiji, where she and her husband spent a week before she gave birth to their son, Jon on Dec. 12, 2012.

Golia now has a daughter and has taken time off from teaching, but stays involved in helping kids.

She works for Usborne Books. The September “Books For Kids With Cancer" drive initially raised $2,000, then the company matched each donation by 50 percent, so the total, $3,500, was enough to pay for 250 books.

Golia has carefully chosen the books she will bring to Yale.

Meanwhile, the fundraiser continues to raise money for more books.

Click here for more information and to make a donation.

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