Community Celebrates Former Teacher’s Birthday As She Continues Cancer Battle

Image by Matt Hummel / WNY News Now.

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LAKEWOOD – Friends and family of a former longtime Falconer educator who is currently battling Cancer gathered Sunday for a car parade to celebrate her birthday.

Image by Matt Hummel / WNY News Now.

More than 70 cars lined up bumper-to-bumper starting at the Southwestern School District bus garage on Bentley Avenue, signifying the impact that teacher Karen Cotton had on students, fellow teachers and other community members.

WNYNewsNow spoke with Allie and Zara Miles at the event. They tell us that Cotton’s additional role as a local Girl Scouts leader was instrumental in them learning how to adapt to what life throws their way.

“Karen is one of the most amazing, giving, friendly people I know,” Zara said. “She always knew how to be a good time.” She says that Cotton was also her mother’s Girl Scouts leader. “She always knew how to make us laugh and (she) always was just a super cheerful person, willing to help everyone out and make everyone smile.”

“She is always outgoing, always friendly, just a nice person to know,” Allie added. “I loved going to camp with her, and getting to know other people, because I wasn’t a very sociable person, but getting to know other people in the troop and actually going to camp, it was quite fun.”

Both women agreed that Cotton had a sense of humor, which was key at a camp full of younger people.

We also asked the two what the biggest lessons were that Cotton taught them.

“How to be outgoing, and go with the flow, and not worry about the small stuff,” Allie said. “It would all work out one way or another.”

“For me, it’s probably to always keep smiling,” Zara said. “It always seemed like what was going on, she always has the biggest smile, and such an infectious laugh that makes us all happy and to keep at everything we do.”

The parade was led by a firetruck from the Lakewood Fire Department.


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