Students Raise $18,000 After Lunch Lady’s Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis

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A dining hall facility worker at an Iowa university feels “surrounded with love” after students rallied together in the wake of her cancer diagnosis, raising $18,000 to help with her medical expenses.

Marietta Jackson has been a set fixture in Hubbell Dining Hall at Drake University for 15 years, making everyone she comes into contact with feel welcome and at home, KCCI News reported March 25. Though she strives to make the days pleasant for students who are far away from home, Jackson was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer which “has not been pleasant at all,” she told the outlet.

Her cancer diagnosis has forced her away from work from time to time, with some days spent in the hospital. Students inevitably noticed, KCCI reported.

“She knows everybody’s name. She lights up your day. Makes you feel welcome. You would never guess she is going through what she is going through,” Drake basketball player Okay Djamouz told the outlet.

“To have that level of warmth and comfort and joy come from this one little body is something that I feel everybody looks forward to. I know I look forward to it,” former Drake University staffer Keesha Ward added.

In an effort to show love and appreciation for Jackson, who some consider “their mom away from home,” Drake University basketball player Maggie Bair opened a GoFundMe account to help with Jackson’s medical expenses. The account has raised more than $18,000 since its creation, the outlet reported. (RELATED: Donations Pour In For 17-Year-Old Ice Cream Shop Employee Who Was Berated For Working)

The generosity and love of those who donated has touched Jackson, who said she feels “surrounded with love,” a love she reportedly returns tenfold.

“I feel their prayers, and I am truly blessed,” Jackson told the outlet.