Beloved school principal diagnosed with brain cancer

GoFundMe page set up to help pay for surgery

Students at Wilson West Middle School have gone home for the summer, and principal Kyle Wetherhold didn't even get to say goodbye. Two weeks before the school year ended, he got the shock of his life

"I went to the emergency room because of heart pains, and I walked out without a heart attack but with a brain tumor diagnosis," said Wetherhold.

Doctors told Wetherhold his brain tumor is cancerous, so they operated, but the surgery removed only 90 percent of the tumor. Now, doctors are recommending a $170,000 surgery, called 'proton beam therapy,' to remove the rest.

"Proton beam, as opposed to gamma knife, the beam doesn't spread out. It's very very precise," said Dr. Steven Chmielewski, the doctor who diagnosed Wetherhold. "You can carve out the area that you want to treat, which would preserve his normally functioning brain."

Wetherhold said his health insurance company won't pay for the more expensive surgery.

"The problem is, it's considered to be experimental, even though it's been in clinical practice for several decades now, because it's not in widespread use," Chmielewski said.

Wetherhold's friends and family have set up a GoFundMe page to try and save his life.

"I've had thousands of students over the years, and I'm looking down that list of kids that have given back, so we did something right here at West," said the principal, as he held back tears.

Wetherhold needs to start his treatment next Friday, and he's praying for a miracle.

"I always tell students, look for the good in life. Make every day better than the one before, and this is an opportunity for everybody to do that," he said.

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