A Little Boy with a Big Heart

A Tallahassee preschool teacher reeling from a recent cancer diagnosis is stunned by another big surprise.

Camden Hand hugs teacher Betty Payne.

By: Lanetra Bennett
January 29, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- When asked about his day, four-year-old Camden Hand scratched his head. But, it was a no-brainer for him when he was asked to help someone. His answer for that was to grab his piggy bank.

He put the money in a big Ziploc bag and brought that bag to school Thursday.

Betty Payne was sitting in the middle of chemotherapy when a picture of Camden holding the bag was sent to her phone.

"I couldn't do nothing but cry to be honest with you. I actually cried because, I mean, I don't know. It's just a feeling that I can't explain. I just cried." Payne, said.

It was $105.15 in Camden's bag. It all went to Payne, who is a teacher at Good Samaritan Preschool in Tallahassee.

She was diagnosed with lung cancer three weeks ago.

She said, "When I first found out about the lung cancer, I almost went crazy."

When students and parents found out about the cancer, they started giving.

Gwen Wharton, the Assistant Director of the preschool, said, "We're not just co-workers here. We're family. To hear one of your family members get news like that, it breaks your heart."

"I appreciate everybody and I love for what they have done. Most of all I just thank God for me being here," said Payne.

Camden's mom says emptying his piggy bank was his idea.

Camden's mother, Christie Hand, said, "We were already proud of him. That made us so very proud of him. Kind of that proud parent moment when your heart just sort of swells."

Others have also contributed. The school is still accepting donations.

The money will help with Payne's chemotherapy. She has treatments a few times a week, at up to $700 per visit.

Payne says the love and support is helping her get through it.


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