CAROLINE COUNTY, VA (WWBT) - We went to Caroline County to pay it forward to a middle school guidance counselor who actively looks for projects she and her students can do to help others.
They've filled Thanksgiving baskets for the needy, adopted families at Christmas and raised thousands for disaster victims around the world. But it's her gift of love to a colleague that inspired today's Act of Kindness.
It was a birthday surprise from the assistant principal to the guidance counselor she says supported her through a medical crisis.
"She just wrapped her arms around my family and just embraced," said Carra Hesington.
Carra Hesington's family was shocked this past spring when her 12-year-old son Justin's legs just gave out.
"Around April Justin woke up one day and couldn't walk. We had no idea what was going on with him," said Carra.
Doctors discovered a rare cancer and multiple tumors.
"Three tumors, one in my head which is still there, one in my shoulder and one in my back on my spinal cord," said Justin Hesington.
Justin went into the hospital, then began weekly chemotherapy sessions. His guidance counselor began a campaign of school support.
"She just keeps on giving. She has the biggest heart," said Carra.
To keep Justin's spirits up, she rallied 300 sixth graders to create get well cards and sign a huge inspirational banner. Tisha Henderson organized meal deliveries.
"She gave us food on chemo days, ‘cause we come home too tired to cook," said Justin.
And she kept in constant phone contact.
"She called us every night to make sure how I was doing," said Justin.
"She was my support. She was my backbone," said Carra.
Carra says when Tisha sees a need, she just has to try to fill it.
"When we start out the school year every year she always comes around and says ‘who needs something, what can I do,'" said Carra. "I always believe that one good turn deserves another. I'm hoping as big as her heart is, as much as she's given, I hope she realizes that there are people out there supporting her. Her husband was recently laid off. She said literally, ‘I don't know what I'm going to do.'"
The assistant principal asked the counselor to come over on her birthday, her day off.
"She thinks she's coming over to babysit," Carra said.
CARRA: "I'm gonna cry. I want to present you with $300 for your act of kindness, for everything you've done for everybody and for me. So put your hand out.
TISH: "Are you kidding me? I would have dressed nicer, today's my 40th birthday!"
CARRA: "I know that, but we love you. We love everything you do. This is $100, $200, $300 for you."
TISH: "Oh my God, thank you so much. I'm like in shock."
"She's done a lot for me and I think she deserves that $300," said Justin.
"I think if you live everyday of your life, thinking what can I do to make this world better, to make this person's life better, I think it would be a much kinder world," said Tish.
Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.