FAIRFIELD — Deanna Herlihy has been teaching children in the Fairfield community for almost 19 years at her creative and artistic preschool, Curiosity Corner.

Dubbed a modern-day Mary Poppins in testimonials about her preschool, Herlihy, or Ms. Dee as she’s commonly known, was forced to shut down the school March 1 for personal health reasons.

Her breast cancer, which had not bothered her for almost 20 years, had returned, spreading to her lungs and bones.

Members of the Fairfield community sprang into action; Amanda Morgan created a GoFundMe page Feb. 28 that has since raised nearly $15,000 from over 150 donations.

“Ms. Dee is the first teacher many of our little ones ever had,” the GoFundMe reads. “Donations to this GoFundMe will go to help Ms. Dee and her family financially while she is unable to work.”

An outpour of online comments lauded Ms. Dee’s work and educational efforts in the Fairfield community, something that Ms. Dee’s sister, Debra Cingari, has described as overwhelming.

“All of this is helping to relieve the financial burden that cancer brings,” Cingari said. “She is now recouping from two recent surgeries to alleviate problems with her lungs which causes her to be breathless and immobile which has been difficult for someone who is so athletic and active.”

More Information

To learn more about the GoFundMe for Deanna Herlihy, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/ft2d8m-ms-dee

Cingari added that she was planning to create silent auction fundraiser locally and was in the process of finding a local space.

The GoFundMe page posts periodical updates, a recent one informing about Ms. Dee’s recovery from a March 1 surgery. News12 interviewed members of the online fundraiser effort in mid-March.

“Deanna, the support here shows all the lives you’ve touched, as well as how many people love and care about you,” Peter Koss, one of the people who posted comments on the fund page, said.

humberto.juarez@hearstmediact.com