Life Video

By Katy Gill

An school teacher fighting stage 4 cancer was brought to tears after being sung to by almost 500 students in a surprise performance.

Youlin Aissa, 39, who has been battling lung, breast and spinal cancer for the past two years, was moved by the lovable performance from the children aged between four and ten-years-old.

Holding handmade breast cancer ribbons and cards, and some sporting pink outfits, the youngsters burst into the beautiful rendition of ’Lean on Me’ by Bill Withers at the end of their morning assembly on October 26th, at Stockton Elementary School, California, USA.


After being diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer a day before Thanksgiving, in 2016, the principal has since had to face the news of her cancer spreading to her lungs and her spine and reaching stage 4.

Still, Youlin chose to return to her daily routine as soon as possible.

Youlin said: “I was incredibly humbled and moved by this, clearly very touched as you can see me blubber throughout the performance.

“I’m still very shocked that all the students were able to keep it a secret after rehearsing it for two-weeks.

“We all have struggles outside of school and work, yet my staff and the students choose to come in every day and make me feel supported, loved, cared for and blessed.

“Despite our different pedagogy and philosophies in education, we have all united.


“Many of my colleagues have stepped up during my treatment in order for me to have as little work stress as possible.

“On Wednesdays we wear pink, after the staff implemented it out of support whilst I was away receiving treatment.”

Once Youlin had endured six weeks of chemotherapy followed by four months of radiation, she returned to work – stating innocent comments the younger students make have helped make her laugh.

The teacher of 16 years dedicates her strength to remaining positive during the most challenging of times in her upbringing.

She hopes this video will help grant the school and its students the credit it deserves.


During her weekly medical appointments, around 20 members of staff and 450 students would all quickly meet up and rehearse the song in order to master the surprise for their beloved principal.

When Youlin turned 35, she requested a mammogram from her doctors, but after being told the cancer screening guidelines claim the recommended mammogram age is between 40 to 44, she was turned away, she claims.

But, after turning 37, she found a lump in her breast and was left devastated to find out it was stage 3 breast cancer that had spread to her lymph-nodes.

According to Cancer Research UK, around 9 in 10 women in England are diagnosed with breast cancer – though survival rate is improving and has doubled in the last 40 years.