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Elementary students in Burlington rally around third grader with cancer

Classmates and teachers say Lilly is one of the toughest third graders they’ve ever met.

BURLINGTON, Iowa - Lilly Timmerman, a 9-year-old from Burlington, is battling acute myeloid leukemia.

"I think it was quite a shock to Lilly because she was here for all our parties leading up to Christmas and then all of a sudden Christmas break came and things just took a huge turn, that nobody was really ready for," said Jaimee Sparrow, Lilly's teacher.

Lilly's fellow third graders at North Hill Elementary are fighting with her.

"I'd give her health so she wouldn't be sick anymore," said classmate Patience Wesley.

Lilly's favorite color - purple - is worn by her class with a little message of hope.

The students in Sparrow's third grade class have learned about leukemia before, from teacher Anna Ertz who lost her son to it more than two years ago.

"Jackson got diagnosed on the 26th of June and he had passed away 47 days later on August 11th," said Ertz.

For Ertz, hearing the news that Lilly was diagnosed with cancer wasn't easy.

"When you become a parent, you never dream that one day your child will be so sick that there's nothing you can do to help them but pray and count on the doctors and nurses to fix them," said Ertz.

Seeing the students at North Hill come together has touched her heart.

"When you see children in kindergarten, preschool, on their way up to 5th grade and community stand behind a child, who's 8, a child, not a hero and not someone who's done great things in the world, but is just fighting to live another day," said Ertz.

Even though Lilly can't sit in her seat, there's a stuffed monkey named Bananas that sits in her place.

"He's here in her spot and then over the weekend he gets to go home with her and kids can send things back and forth in his backpack to her," said Sparrow.

The third grade class is always thinking of her.

"Lilly's like the toughest kid, that we as a third grade class, have ever been around and I think just knowing what she's going through is making the class stronger and making them kind of put things into perspective to what life's really about," said Sparrow.

They'll continue to stay strong for Lilly, if you'd like to keep up with Lilly's journey click HERE.

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