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Alumni chip in to help ailing classmate
Towers High graduates raise money for Porterdale woman

CONYERS - When Dan Turner went to high school in the 1970s, he and his classmates had no Internet.

Now, the Internet is the one thing bringing them together - and allowing them to help each other.

After Thanksgiving, the Towers High School Reunion e-mail list received a plea for help.

A classmate's daughter e-mailed the list - which includes 330 classmates that attended the DeKalb County high school from 1965 to 1980 - asking for help for her mother, Lynn Massey.

"They were going to raffle personal belongings and gifts to raise money to prevent a foreclosure" on Massey's Porterdale home, said Turner, a Conyers resident who attended school with Massey.

He said Massey developed Stage 4 cancer in April and had later lost her job, along with her insurance.

When Massey's daughter contacted the list in November, Massey had worked back down to Stage 2, but she still had no job and was paying her medical bills out of pocket.

"Working into Stage 2 is a feat in and of itself; doing it without insurance and without telling her classmates of this struggle ... now, that's class," Turner said in an e-mail. "She had more class not to tell anybody about her ills and woes until last minute. I don't have any class, and I felt strongly enough that I don't mind asking anybody for money for her."

When he read the e-mail about her raffling off items, he and a group of other classmates on the list went a step further.

"She's had enough this past eight months, and we all want her to sit back and enjoy the fruits of her efforts," Turner said.

He gave the classmates a goal - raise $6,000 by Dec. 21, so he could deliver her a check before Christmas.

"If everyone could come up with $20 each, I thought it would be easy,"

Turner said.

Little did he know his goal - and then some - would be reached ahead of time.

"We brought her $6,700 and a 20-pound turkey (on Christmas Eve)," Turner said.

He said 93 classmates donated money to the fund and he hopes to have 100 or more donations by the new year or shortly thereafter.

"We should have $7,000 by the first of the year; we're not stopping," he said. "We're going to try to keep it going for a few months. If she's going to fight that hard, we're going to help her."

When Turner showed up at Massey's doorstep Monday, she was very surprised.

"I had gotten to the point where I've called so many people to try to get help and thought every door had been closed, then Dan comes," she said. "Some of those people don't even know me."

She said she will use the money to pay off some of her medical bills and try to help avoid her house being foreclosed on, as well as hopefully getting her teeth repaired from damaging chemotherapy treatments.

"They've been absolutely wonderful," Massey said of her classmates.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.