Meet Additional Recipients of One Of Our Own

With your help and charitable giving, One Of Our Own helps School Bus Drivers in their fight for life, by providing much needed financial assistance for Medical treatment expenses not met by health insurance and other means.  Information on deserving recipients selected for the One Of Our Own charity appears on this page;   check back regularly to chart our progress in identifying and helping others.

My name is Dewayne O'Dell and this is my story...

I started my career with Gwinnett County Public Schools as a bus driver for Regular Ed in September, 2000. My very first day on the job, I had a student get sick and throw up on my bus and my bus broke down. I sat on the side of the road wondering what in the world I had gotten myself into. 

I drove Regular Ed for three years before transferring to Special Needs, and I was assigned to Zone 059 in the Norcross area. This, I must say, was one of my biggest blessings. I know God put me there for a reason, and I feel that working with special needs children was my true calling. I knew my first day, this is what I was supposed to be doing.

I've had so many experiences over the past 17 years that have impacted my life in an amazing way.  I can only hope that I have had that same impact on others.  I could write a book filled with funny stories I've heard from students over the years!  Believe me, I've heard it all!  I wouldn't trade any of this for anything in the world!  I'm so grateful for my Gwinnett County Public Schools family and the friendships that have lasted all these years.

In October 2016, I had a small knot come up in my left breast. I went to my family doctor to get it checked out and he said it sounded like a cyst but he ordered a mammogram anyway.  I just assumed it was a cyst and it would eventually go away on its own, and I didn't follow up with having the mammogram done.

In January 2017, it had gotten much bigger and become painful. I went back to the doctor and as soon as he saw it, he referred me to a surgeon.  A week later, I had two mammograms, a sonogram and four biopsies which all came back malignant. 

The final diagnosis is one of the rarest types of breast cancer in men - Stage 4 Inflammatory Breast Cancer. It's so rare, there have only been 4 other cases of male Inflammatory Breast Cancer in the United States, ever.  I'm currently undergoing further testing before starting a treatment plan. 

As you can imagine, my world crashed in around me. I would have never dreamed putting off a mammogram could lead to something this serious.  I have a wife of 34 years, two daughters, and two sons in law and 3 amazing grandsons that are my whole world.   I'm so grateful for the outpouring of love, concern and prayers for my family and I as we face this demon called cancer.   With the help of God, I am going to beat this cancer and be a living testimony so that I encourage other men to never ignore a simple little bump. 

Did you know?  This year about 564,800 Americans are expected to die of cancer—more than 1,500 people a day.  Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the US, exceeded only by heart disease.  One of every four deaths in the US is from cancer. Since 1990, there have been approximately 5 million cancer deaths. 

Your Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) Transportation Department is a family of more than 2,000 dedicated professionals who provide a vital link between home and school for so many students!  With such a large population of School Bus Drivers, Monitors, and Support Personnel, we have many team members who are victims of Cancer and other devastating diseases.  With your help and charitable giving , One Of Our Own helps them in their fight for life, by providing much needed financial assistance for Medical treatment expenses not met by health insurance and other means.