Care-O-World rallies to help pay for veteran teacher’s surgery

Published 5:00 pm Wednesday, October 2, 2019

A beloved teacher at Care-O-World Early Learning Center is in need of financial assistance ahead of major surgery this month, and the staff at the learning center are rallying to her cause.

A pair of events, one this Saturday and one next Friday, will raise money to help 26-year veteran teacher Keisha Keyes travel to Charleston, South Carolina, later this month. While there, she will undergo an intensive 10-12 hour surgery to address her ameloblastoma, an aggressive, non-cancerous tumor growing on her lower jaw.

Because the tumor is in her mouth and involving her teeth, medical insurance will only cover part of her treatment. So far, Keyes’s family, church and Care-O-World staff have raised approximately $9,000 of a total need of approximately $35,000, which will pay for the surgery, a 10-day stay in the hospital and accommodations in Charleston for a month afterwards. Before the surgery can even take place, she must have more than $15,000 in hand.

“I have to have this money the morning of the surgery,” Keyes said. “When they told me how much it was, I was like, ‘I don’t have this.’ Care-O-World jumped right in and said, ‘This is what we’re going to do to help’ and the community just came in as one. I’m very thankful.”

On Saturday, Care-O-World will host a community yard/bake sale at its Washington location on Whispering Pines Road from 7 a.m. to noon. Donations for that sale are welcome at the learning center.

Then next Friday, the learning center will host a family-friendly glow run/walk in Chocowinity from 6 to 9 p.m. The event will take place at the Chocowinity Recreation Complex, featuring crafts, activities and food for purchase starting at 6 p.m., with the walk beginning at 8 p.m. Cost to register in advance is $10 for individuals or $20 for families. Day-of registration is $15 per person or $30 per family.

“They seem to be popular these days, so we thought it would be fun,” said organizer Quinteria Hill.

All of the proceeds from both events will benefit Keyes, and the learning center has established a separate checking account to keep track of the funds, all of which will be paid directly to the hospital.

As to why taking care of his staff is important, Care-O-World Executive Director Jason Carrow says it’s something his mom, Care-O-World founder Carolyn Carrow, always believed in.

“One thing my mom said is that if everybody who has given Keisha a hug would give her $5, it would be paid for,” Carrow said. “Keisha’s known not just at Care-O-World, but throughout the whole community. …Children that she had in her classroom 20 years ago have children now. When people hear about it, they’re willing to reach out an help.”

Those wishing to contribute to Keyes’s cause may contact Pamela Kuers at or 252-402-0626 or Linda Bond at 252-809-7300. Registration forms for the glow run are available at both the Washington and Chocowinity Care-O-World locations, on the learning center’s Facebook pages and here.