Community Rallies Around Teacher with Terminal Cancer to Repaint House for His Wife

Dozens of people came out to help repaint the house of a 45-year-old former teacher from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, after he was told by his doctors he had only months to live.
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Dozens of people came out to help repaint the house of a 45-year-old former teacher from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, after he was told by his doctors he had only months to live.

Tim Gjoraas started chemotherapy treatments in 2019 shortly after he was diagnosed with colon cancer, but in July, his doctors told him he only had a few months left.

In July, after a 22-year teaching career, Gjoraas made the difficult decision to retire and spend time with his wife and three kids.

Once Gjoraas shared the news on social media, the community was there to help him.

People organized fundraisers for him and his family, and most recently, a group of people got together to repaint the outside of his house — something he had wanted to do for his wife.

Gjoraas mentioned the idea to a friend and retired teacher, Doug Rinken. He told Rinken he had lived the house for more than 20 years and that it was overdue for a paint job.

“I just asked him if next summer, which I probably won’t be here for, if he can paint it for my wife,” he said.

But the family would not have to wait until next year to see the paint job completed. Rinken organized a dozen teachers and friends to paint the brown house blue — a color Gjoraas’s wife picked out.

“You want to help in any way you can, but you know that whatever you do, it isn’t going to be enough,” Rinken told the Argus Leader, the local newspaper, on Saturday. “Even this what we’re doing today, it isn’t going to change anything, but I just hope it makes him feel a little more comfortable. It maybe makes us feel a little better too.”

The house was painted in a little over a half of a day. The group then shared stories over some beers.

“My community has really gone to bat for my family and I over and over and over,” Gjoraas said.

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