Knoxville teacher walks, raises thousands for student

Knoxville teacher walks, raises thousands for student's medical bills

Posted:
Bible teacher Dr. Brad Zockell was joined by others as he walked around the football field at Grace Christian Academy. Bible teacher Dr. Brad Zockell was joined by others as he walked around the football field at Grace Christian Academy.
"I just figured that this was something that I could do to help in my little way," Dr. Brad Zockell (right) told Hayley Harmon. "I just figured that this was something that I could do to help in my little way," Dr. Brad Zockell (right) told Hayley Harmon.
Anna Hamilton (source: family photo) Anna Hamilton (source: family photo)

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A Knoxville high school teacher is helping his students learn an important lesson in giving back.

Anna Hamilton, a senior at Grace Christian Academy, is battling Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Teacher and students wanted a way to raise money to help Anna's family with their medical bills.

That's when Bible teacher Dr. Brad Zockell decided to put the old adage "walk a mile in their shoes" into practice.

Zockell said he would walk 50 miles around the football field at Grace Christian Academy if people would sponsor his walk by making donations for Anna's family.

He started Sunday night around 10:30 and walked for nearly 19 hours before finishing Monday afternoon.

"Five laps is a mile. We get five laps to a mile here," Zockell said during his trek.

Why did he decide to walk?

"I just figured that this was something that I could do to help in my little way, and so it's what I chose to do," said Zockell.

The Bible teacher says Anna was in his class last year.

"Stellar student. Wonderful girl. Wonderful attitude and everybody liked her," he said.

When teachers and classmates found out two months ago she had Hodgkin's lymphoma, the effort to help her began.

"It was more than just an emotional reaction. It was a determination. Let's do something. Putting feet to our prayers," said Zockell.

His students have been inspired to help Anna in other ways.

"Just because of this, so many more ideas have come up, like we could do this, or we could do this. You know, organizing something," said Aaron Pietro, a junior at Grace Christian Academy.

Even though Zockell's body feels the wear and tear of each step, he says it's his heart that tells him the walk is worth it.

"Little bit tired. Tight in the legs right now. When I'm done with this, I'm done. But she wakes up tomorrow and she's still dealing with it. Her family's still dealing with that. And so when I look at that, the pain here is very minimal," he said.

Zockell's original goal was to raise $300.

At last check, donations were totaling nearly $3,000.

Donations for Anna's family are still being collected. They can be dropped off or mailed to Grace Christian Academy and designated for Anna Hamilton at:

Grace Christian Academy
5914 Beaver Ridge Road
Knoxville, TN 37931
865.934.4780

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