“This school has adopted me:” Janitor dealing with cancer overwhelmed by support

GREENFIELD (WITI) — A janitor in Greenfield got a break from work Friday, May 30th so students and staff could honor him. Joe Lassiter tells FOX6 he doesn’t plan on quitting his job, or his fight, any time soon.

In life, it may seem like many of us are on the same track. But each path is unique — defined by our various stops. And Joe Lassiter, stops for everyone.

“Yeah, this school has adopted me…this is something,” said Lassiter.

Normally, Lassiter stays far from stardom. He cleans Whitnall Middle School for a living, and he left earlier this year to fight prostate cancer.

“I was like ‘Lord, I know you do strange things but why me? What did I do to deserve cancer?’,” said Lassiter.

Joe returned to work in January. On Friday, he was the cause of the schools 9th annual walk-a-thon.

“Makes everyone happy, of all the stuff we made for him, we made so much for him and he takes it so well and he gets emotional, which is emotional to us,” said Kara Hirt, 7th grader.

Of course, the walk stopped whenever Joe stepped on the track. Lassiter is constantly surrounded by adolescents who adore him.

“To see the way they love and care for Joe and cheer him on…that’s the kind of thing a teacher can live a whole lifetime and never get to experience, so that means the world to all of us,” said Kayla Fraley, 7th grade teacher.

And Joe says, the sign, the shirts… they mean everything to him. He’s battling cancer, yet Lassiter says this is the happiest he’s ever been.

“I can say that without even blinking an eye. I can say that because look around! These are 6th and 7th and 8th graders who have pulled out love and support for a guy who cleans rooms and opens doors,” said Lassiter.

It may sound like an unfulfilling life, but anyone who’s followed Joe Lassiter’s path, knows better.

If you do not know a WMS student but are interested in making a donation, you can contact Kayla Fraley at kfraley@whitnall.com.

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