BRANDON, Fla - Don't be surprised if you see all of the students who attend Brandon High School to wear purple to school Friday.
Purple was the favorite color of Heather Bates Hall, 28, who was a mathematics teacher and cheerleading coach at the school. Hall lost her battle with cancer on November 14.
Word of Hall's death left students and staff somber.
"She had such strength," said Principal Carl Green. "I thought of her as a daughter. She went through this for two years."
According to Green, despite Hall being extremely sick, she showed up to school. Often times, her mother, would drop her off and walk her into class, he said. She would even leave class to take medicine and go to the doctor but always returned.
"She wanted to be here. She never wanted to be home," Green added.
At one point, she was even awarded teacher of the year.
"It was hard," said Yaica Rivera, Hall's student this year. "She kept saying she was OK but we knew something was going on."
Booster parent Cheryl Cabbage-Stanbro wrote the following message on a memorial page set up in honor of Hall on Facebook :
"Heart is with coach Heather Hall's husband, family and friends today. She will be forever young and forever beautiful and in the hearts and minds of all the young lives she touched during her short stay here on earth. She was wonderful to my son and I know he will never forget her. She was able to reach him, when I [could] not. I will always be grateful that she cared enough to try."
Friday will be known as "Mrs. Hall Day." Students spent Thursday making a banner that will be displayed at her funeral. According to students, the banner will be in the lunch room Friday for students and staff to sign.
"She was an amazing person," said Danielle Stebbins, a student who had Hall last year. "She was always laughing and joking with students."
Hall was diagnosed with melanoma for the second time in 2010. She first battled Stage 4 melanoma and won her fight at the age of 15.
Hall chronicled her battle against cancer on the website Heroes for Heather . On the site, donations totaled $4,095 for Hall to put toward her medical costs.
A 5k run was scheduled at the the high school for Hall on December 1. The principal said that run will still be held in her honor and people are still encouraged to donate to the cause.
Hall is survived by her husband, Jarrett, a deputy with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. Jarrett, according to the principal, came to the school Thursday and addressed students and staff about his wife's death over the school's intercom.
"He was strong," Green said.
"I was really sad," said Morgan Platania, a freshman. "I tried to hold it in when they announced it but I broke down."
Jarrett posted this message on his Facebook page Thursday:
"Well folk, today is a day to rejoice. Heather Hall was met by a heavenly host and is experiencing something we believers are envious of. I am so grateful for all of you who love my wife and I truly appreciate all of the kind words and gestures."
There will be a visitation for Hall this Friday from 6-8p.m. The following day, there will be a worship service at 11 a.m. Both event will be held at Plant City First Baptist.
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