“#BelieveInBotts” lends support, raises funds for MHS principal

Maize High staff is raising money by selling shirts for principal Chris Botts, who recently was diagnosed with cancer

Isabelle Blasdel, Editor

Chris Botts became Maize High principal 10 years ago, and the school feels like a second home for him.

The past months have been filled with Botts being away from his home away from home and spent in doctors’ offices.

Botts was recently diagnosed with large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma, also known as LCNEC, a type of cancer that has kept Botts out of his job.

Botts is at MD Anderson in Houston this week to meet with his team of doctors.

Nathan Wituk

“They’re gonna run some more tests and then they will come up with a treatment plan and we will just go from there,” he said. “I really don’t know what it’s gonna look like yet.”

Large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma is a form of cancer most commonly found in the lung and the gastrointestinal tract, but it can occur throughout the body. Botts had surgery to remove the mass on his heart and then later had surgery to fix his damaged vocal cords from his first surgery.

“My wife is just like an angel just from getting my medications three times a day to basically being like the sole, not the only caregiver, but shuttling kids where they need to go because I couldn’t drive forever, get me to my appointments, talk because my voice is limited,” Botts said.

The hardest challenge throughout the journey for Botts is being away from Maize.

“It’s part of my identity and so not being here, I feel out of the loop with what’s going on and how’s this kid doing, how’s that kid doing and how’s that staff member,” Botts said.

Not only has Bott’s real family been there for him, but the staff, students, and alumni have begun fundraising to help cover medical expenses.

The financial and emotional toll of this can’t be expressed in words,” said FACS teacher Elizabeth Mans, who helped raise funds. “We hope to help carry any of that we can.”

The fundraising team created t-shirts and started a donation campaign this past week called “#BelieveInBotts”. Shirts will be sold until Wednesday and there will be different activities planned for people to wear their shirts and show Botts support during treatment.

“We felt the T-shirt fundraiser was the perfect way to be able to show our emotional support, but also raise some money to help offset the many expenses that are likely to come his way,” said math teacher Joanna Fair, another organizer. 

Botts worked partial days after spring break and has attended some events. He said he appreciates the hugs, cards and well wishes.  When asked how it felt to be back he had two simple words: “really good.”

“It feels good to know that there’s so many people in my corner who are cheering me on and praying for me,” he said “Feels really good.”