A ‘Selphless’ Act: Community rallies around local teacher fighting cancer

Misty Selph, a Pre-K teacher at West Chatham Elementary, is battling stage 4 thyroid cancer
Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 3:59 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Baseball is known as America’s past time.

But this weekend one West Chatham family is hoping it does more than just pass time.

As the friends of the Selph family are working to raise funds that could help save a local teachers life.

“She’s an outstanding teacher,” says fellow West Chatham Elementary teacher Tommy Gibbs. “Pre-K is one of those things that you’re either born to do it or you’re not and it definitely comes very natural for her.”

Misty Selph is right at home in her West Chatham Elementary classroom.

“Oh, I love the kids,” said Mrs. Selph.

Despite just beginning her career four years ago, she already made quite the impact.

“She’s very hands on. Loves the boys and girls and she’s a staple in our school. We love having her and she does a great job,” Gibbs said.

Of course, looking at Mrs. Selph teach you’d likely never know but, “about a year ago I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. When I got the diagnosis they said, ‘you’re so lucky. That’s the easiest cancer to treat.’ I had a surgery a year ago and they found out thyroid cancer was not so easy to treat.”

After going back for yet another surgery she found out the cancer had spread.

“When you hear stage four cancer, my mom was with me that day, we were just overwhelmed because I don’t look sick on the outside but on the inside I am. We didn’t realize how sick I was,” said Mrs. Selph.

Not giving up hope, she was referred to a specialist in Texas.

“He told us, ‘I am the only person in the United States that can do the surgery it requires to remove the cancer.’”

The only issue, “my insurance company says, ‘we’re not paying for you to go outside the state of Georgia,’” Selph explained.

Another dead end, that is until her coworkers found out.

“Myself and a guy I coach baseball with, Mike Callahan, got together and were like, ‘hey, we can put on a tournament to try and raise money for this family.’ Within a week of putting this out, with a two-and-a-half-week notice, we have 50 plus teams. We’re currently sitting at 54 teams,” said Gibbs.

Misty Selph Fundraiser
Misty Selph Fundraiser(WTOC)

Something Mrs. Selph never expected.

“We were overwhelmed when the baseball community said they wanted to support us. I think that speaks volumes of who my children are, my husband is, that the community would rally around us.”

But if you ask those who know Mrs. Selph, it truly speaks to who she is.

“I don’t know very many people that’re battling cancer at stage four that are at work every day. With a smile on her face just loving on these babies. It says a lot about her character and just her in general and we’re proud to work with her and call her a colleague and a friend,” said Gibbs.

Although the road ahead for Mrs. Selph is still uncertain, you can be certain of this, she isn’t giving up.

“I’m going to get up every day. I want to be the face of cancer that shows hope. I want to be the face of cancer that shows, ‘you can make it through this.’ You have these children in Pre-K that depend on you. They want to see Mrs. Selph. I want my own two children to see, ‘mommy gets out of bed every day. She goes to work she fights this cancer.’ People around me need to see that. That I don’t give up and just stay home and despair. People need to see that, ‘yes, there is hope you can fight this.’ I’m going to continue to come to work every day until my body says I can’t do it anymore.”

That baseball tournament for Mrs. Selph is being held this weekend at Macomber Ballpark in Rincon.

One hundred percent of the money raised is going towards her treatment.

They will hold raffles as well to help raise additional money.

The tournament is Saturday & Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.