School makes pitch to home improvement show for cancer-striken teacher who lost home to fire |

School makes pitch to home improvement show for cancer-striken teacher who lost home to fire

Sara Thompson
Jonah M. Kessel / Tahoe Daily Tribune / From left, Kayla, Alicia, Scott and Marsha Hudson stand in back of what used to be their home. The Hudsons' house along with most of their possessions were destroyed during the Angora fire. The Hudson family received another blow of hard luck three months later when Scott Hudson was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Despite the run of bad luck, the Hudson family is remaining positive.

After classes ended at South Lake Tahoe Middle School on Friday, two fire trucks pulled into the parking lot. The trucks weren’t responding to a fire alarm. They were there to help the Hudson family by being part of a video.

The Hudsons lost their home in the Angora fire, but that wasn’t the end of their misfortune.

Doctors diagnosed Scott Hudson, a physical education teacher at the middle school, with esophageal cancer last month, said Mary Burns, resident nurse at the middle school. The cancer usually occurs in men ages 60 to 70. Scott’s only 50 years old, so it’s unusual for him to be diagnosed, she said.

“It threw another wrench into things,” Scott said at the burn site on Sunday.

Judy Klingler, principal secretary at the middle school, had the idea to nominate the family for the ABC network’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” The reality show builds a home for a family in seven days. Producers choose the family by evaluating their situation and need for a new home.

She said the family must focus on Scott and not worry about rebuilding their home, especially when his treatment starts.

Scott must take the year off from school to undergo chemotherapy and surgery. He should rest, gain weight and minimize his contact with germs, Burns said.

Klingler said she wanted the nomination to be a surprise for the family, but because of the information and requirements requested in the 18-page application, she needed to ask the Hudson’s permission, she said.

The video will be sent off today, she said.

When making the video, staff stood in the personal memorial garden outside the middle school with the fire trucks in the parking lot. The three trees planted there symbolize three teachers the school has lost in the past 3.5 years. Those teachers are Midge Mercoda, Lori Brandstetter and Gretchen Brimer.

“We don’t want to lose another one,” Klingler said.

Scott has taught at the middle school for five years and worked in the Lake Tahoe Unified School District 23 years, he said. Scott and Marsha Hudson came to Lake Tahoe 25 years ago. They have two daughters: Alicia, 19 and Kayla, 17.

Marsha said community generosity is overwhelming, and that she’s flattered people have wanted to do this for them.

The Hudsons have kept their spirits up through the fire and now with Scott’s diagnosis.

“We’re doers,” Scott said.

The family keeps moving forward because it’s not possible to go back and change things, he said.

Meanwhile, Alicia is taking classes at Lake Tahoe Community College, which keeps her mind off everything. She said the whole family is close so if they are having a hard time, they can talk to each other.

“We hang out with our family more then our friends,” Kayla added.

Kayla said they’re renting a tiny house in Meyers now.

Joe Pfeil, seventh- and eighth-grade technology teacher at the middle school, is filming and editing the video to send to “Extreme Makeover.” Jackie Nelson, principal of South Tahoe Middle School, helped organize part of the video taken at the Hudson’s home.

Klingler said if this application doesn’t work, the community will figure out a way to do their on home makeover on the Hudson house.

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