At Westover Christian Academy in Danville, Joel Teague was more of a mentor than a volleyball coach and the picture of health.

"He ran 20 miles the week before he got diagnosed," said Amie Teague, his widow. "He was at Westover a short time as a coach and he really made an impact on the girls and I think on the whole school."

Last December he was diagnosed with Leukemia. He had a bone marrow transplant but it didn't work. Teague died in August after an eight month fight.

"I would have rather known this love than to have never known it at all. Even though the pain of losing him is so hard," Teague said.

This month a tree decorated in his memory is standing in The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville.

The school is using his story through decorations to raise money for the Leukemia Society.

All together there are 41 trees from businesses, churches, and schools, each representing a local or national charity for the institute's Decorating the Trees for a Cause. You can vote by donating money to your favorite organization.

"It's just a little something extra to add in with getting in the spirit and helping worthy causes at the same time," said Meagan Baker with The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research.

One tree covered in pictures by Country Legends 103.7 and the Dan River High School DECA Club is supporting Claire Parker, a 15 month old with a rare form a Leukemia. The money raised goes to her medical expenses.

And another one decorated in a beach theme is in honor of Vicki Jenkins with Lou Gehrig's disease.

"We decided to decorate a tree in her honor here in the institute to try to just raise some money for ALS and bring awareness to the disease," said Ellen Bass, a friend of Jenkins.

75 percent of all donations raised at each tree goes to that charity then the rest of the money goes to the most popular tree. The display stays up until next Friday.  

PHOTOS: Danville Festival of Trees 2013

POSTED: 10:35 PM EST Dec 12, 2013    UPDATED: 10:35 PM EST Dec 12, 2013 

More than 40 trees are sponsored by Danville groups to raise money for local and national charities.

1 / 9