Blood Drive Held in Honor of Teacher Fighting Cancer

Gadziala_Cynthia95.JPGThe staff and students at Fontbonne teamed up with Dana Farber/Brigham & Women to host a mobile Blood Drive in honor of a beloved and devoted teacher who is battling cancer.  Ms. Cindy Gadziala has taught at Fontbonne for 32 years.  She currently serves as the Theology Department Chairperson and co-teaches the popular Liberty, Justice and Security course for Grade 12 students.

Ms. Gadziala was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the Fall of 2019.  Her prognosis was good following treatment and she returned to teaching for the 2020-21 school year. Ms. Gadziala’s students rallied behind her.  Her senior students created a special quilt for her filled with inspirational messages from each of them.  “This is a beautiful gift,” Ms. Gadziala shared in an email to her colleagues. “Our kids are amazing and I am grateful for them as I am for you!”

Her doctors were optimistic that the cancer was in control with regular medication, but made a significant change to her treatment plan in February.  In order to adjust to this new treatment plan and care for her health, Ms. Gadziala took a medical leave of absence.  The Fontbonne community immediately joined in prayer and found ways to support Ms. Gadziala.  Always thinking of others, she told us all we could show our compassion during this time would be to donate blood for all the cancer patients fighting like her.

Fontbonne’s music director and Cindy’s longtime colleague, Ms. Carol Fortier, heard Cindy’s wish and like a true Fontbonne woman of courage took action. She contacted the Kraft Family Blood Center and arranged for a mobile Blood Drive to be held on campus in honor of Cindy on Wednesday, April 28th.  “At Fontbonne, relationships are at the heart of our mission.  Those are not just words, but a way of life, what makes our community so special,” said Lisa Simmons, Director of Communications. “Cindy has given so much of herself to Fontbonne for more than three decades; educating and inspiring so many of our young women.  It is now time for Fontbonne to support her and make her feel our love.”

Due to the pandemic, a total of 40 donations can be made in one day at a  mobile drive.  Those slots filled up quickly with faculty, staff, students and parents signing up to donate on April 28, 2021.  “I am doing this because Cindy was my teacher when I went to Fontbonne and she has been such a great mentor to me over the years. Trust me - I have a fear of needles, but I am doing this for her because I know she would do it for me, if the role was reversed, said Janine Winters ‘01, Director of Fine Arts.

Check out the media coverage of the Blood Drive HERE.