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Don Barrows comes home for Christmas after cancer treatment | PHOTOS

Don Barrows, a retired teacher and active community member in Federal Way, is battling brain cancer. On Dec. 23, a few dozen people sang Christmas carols in his front yard on Manchester Court in tribute to their beloved friend and mentor. - Andy Hobbs/Federal Way Mirror
Don Barrows, a retired teacher and active community member in Federal Way, is battling brain cancer. On Dec. 23, a few dozen people sang Christmas carols in his front yard on Manchester Court in tribute to their beloved friend and mentor.
— image credit: Andy Hobbs/Federal Way Mirror

Don Barrows, a retired teacher and active community member in Federal Way, is battling brain cancer.

On Sunday, friends and former students braved the cold winter rain and warmed the night with Christmas songs in Barrows' front yard. Barrows and his family listened and smiled from their doorway on Manchester Court as the group delivered "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and the appropriately titled "I'll Be Home for Christmas."

Barrows added a hushed but rich harmony to "Silent Night," and at one point, wiped away some tears. The singers presented Barrows with hugs and a Christmas tree — and plenty of wishes for recovery.

Barrows was the first choir teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School when the school opened in 1969, and also taught in Kent. His musical ties in the community run deep. He helped start the Federal Way Chorale and the Puget Sound Musical Theater, and is a legendary choirmaster at St. Vincent de Paul Church.

Carolee Mayne, a former student at Thomas Jefferson High School, organized the caroling effort. Participants included church members, past choir students, and singers from the Federal Way Chorale, among others.

"It's all for him," Mayne said of Barrows as a few dozen carolers went on their way. "He's had such an impact on all of us."

Barrows was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer in October.

On Dec. 21, Barrows returned from Mexico, where he received an experimental treatment for his cancer. The treatment involves a vaccine made from the patient's dendritic cells, which play a key role in the immune system. The research behind this cutting-edge treatment, which is not yet approved in the United States, received the 2011 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.

Learn more

• Don Barrows' family is raising money to help offset costs for treatment not covered by insurance. To learn more, visit http://www.gofundme.com/barrows.

• To learn more about the Nobel Prize-winning treatment involving dendritic cells, click here.

PHOTOS

To see photos from the Dec. 23 caroling, see the slideshow below or click here.

 

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