When Janet Simons, a Legacy Award-winning infant teacher at Shoreview KinderCare in Minnesota, found out her breast cancer was back for the fourth time, Center Director Kim Baar knew she had to help. For more than 27 years, Janet’s done the right thing for the families at her center. Now, Kim and her team are doing what’s right for Janet.
“Janet is an irreplaceable part of our team and I’m so very blessed to be a part of her life,” said Kim. “When you’ve been a teacher in the same classroom for 27 years, you’ve had an amazing opportunity to make a difference in your community – and that’s just what Janet has done. I admire her for it and I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity to be her leader.”
On Saturday, May 6, Shoreview KinderCare held a benefit event for Janet. More than 100 current and past families, staff, family, and friends attended to rally around Janet in her time of need. Families donated gift certificates and other prizes for a silent auction to raise money for Janet’s medical expenses. By the end of the night, the event raised nearly $5,000.
“As usual, the whole center pulled together like a family to organize the benefit and support Janet,” said Deb Robinson, Janet’s co-teacher of 20 years in the infant room. “My favorite part of the event was seeing how happy Janet looked seeing all the family and friends that came out to support her—I even heard people say how our staff is so great to do something like this and how much we’re all like a family.”
Kim’s team made t-shirts for the event that said “Friends don’t let friends fight cancer alone.” The shirts were such a hit, they’ll be selling them to raise even more money for Janet. Shoreview staff and families put together a video to let Janet know just how much they care for her. Though Janet was shy at first about accepting financial assistance, Kim convinced her to accept the help.
“The benefit was wonderful,” said Janet. “It was great to see all the KinderCare families. The support was outstanding and I was touched when I entered the room. It’s a true blessing to be able to pay off some of my large doctor’s bills. I’m surrounded by loving people who care so much.”
The third time Janet came out of remission to battle her cancer, she applied for and was awarded money from our One Fund. These funds—provided by KCE employees—went a long way in helping Janet pay for her treatments and keep up with her medical bills. But as Janet undergoes treatment yet again, her expenses are piling up. Kim created a GoFundMe page to raise funds for Janet’s ongoing treatment. If you’d like to make a contribution, please click here.
When tragedy strikes someone we care about, our first instinct is to help. Whether it’s one of the children in our care, a family we serve, a coworker or a friend, doing the right thing guides the culture of everything we do at KinderCare Education. Its part of living our Service Values – and that’s just what Kim, Janet, Deb, and the rest of the KinderCare family in Shoreview do every single day.