In the last few weeks, residents of Massac County rallied around Massac Unit One Band Director David Hannan, who had fought a cancerous brain tumor since 2015. Hannan had been a music teacher for the Unit One school district for 18 years. It was the first teaching job he accepted after graduating from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 2001.
A community prayer vigil was held on Jan. 12 for Hannan and other community members who had been battling serious health battles -- Christy Hargan and Hattie Thommason.
Band parent Angie Runion created a Facebook page Banding together for the Hannans with a goal of raising $7,500. In just over one week $23,567 was raised and the fundraiser continues until Saturday, Feb. 8.
In addition to the Facebook fundraiser, local restaurant El Tequila held a fundraiser for Hannan on Jan. 13 and Sissy's -- a Sweet Shoppe -- held a receipt drop on Jan. 16.
According to a story by the Southern Illinoisan, Hannan's wife, Mandy and her brother, Dr. Michael Boyd, a neurologist, said in September of 2015, Hannan developed headaches, neck pain, sudden and significant nausea and vomiting during a family Labor Day weekend get-together. He went in for MRIs of his head and neck. Doctors discovered a large left frontal lobe tumor that required urgent resection. But there was hope when his doctors said it was a Grade 1 tumor, meaning it was likely to grow slowly, and the chance of survival was good.
Over the next two years Hannan underwent two more resections after his tumor was categorized as a Grade 4 gliobastoma, one of the most aggressive and fastest-growing types of tumors.
In December 2019 his health declined again and in an oncology evaluation earlier this month, imaging showed marked disease progression and it had spread to the entirety of his brain. He continued with immunotheraphy and ongoing chemotherapy, but on Jan. 9 hospice care was started.
Hannan passed away on Jan. 19 at his home, surrounded by family.
He leaves behind a legacy in the music department at Massac County High School. "David's passion for music and teaching music was extraordinary. He not only helped average or even beginning musicians become very good musicians, but he also pushed his really gifted musicians further than they even thought they could go. David would often encourage many of his students to take a solo in jazz band, try to play different instruments, transpose or even compose songs for the band to play," said Jason Hayes, superintendent of Massac Unit One.
"David's excitement for music and teaching music was evident in every performance. This excitement, combined with David's ability to relate to students, created a very special and successful music program. It's difficult to assess the full impact that David had on the students at Massac Unit One because it was so far reaching," he continued.
A memorial visitation will be held Thursday, Jan. 30 from 4-7 p.m. at the Aikins-Farmer-Loftus-McManus Funeral Home in Metropolis.
Memorial contributions may be given to the David Hannan Memorial Music Scholarship Fund, 2841 Old Marion Road, Metropolis, IL 62960.
Hargan, who was suffering from pancreatic cancer, passed away on Jan. 20. There is also a Facebook fundraiser for her daughter and can be found by searching for Fighting Hard for Christy Hargan.
For obituary information for Hannan and Hargan, see page 2A.