‘This sort of support has really lifted my spirits’  

By on February 17, 2024

We love you, Mr. Buford! (First Flight High School - The Nest)
We love you, Mr. Buford! (First Flight Middle School)
John Buford
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Dare music teacher John Buford received Feb. 15 stem cell transplant

John Buford, the much beloved Dare County Schools music teacher who received a stem cell transplant at Duke University Hospital on Feb. 15, told the Voice that he is grateful for all the well wishes that have come his way.

“This sort of support has really lifted my spirits,” he said in an interview after the procedure. “It’s good to receive the good karma you hope you put out in the world.”

The 2023 Dare County School District Teacher of the Year, Buford teaches chorus and strings at First Flight High School and chorus at First Flight Middle School. In September of 2023, he announced his diagnosis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

Since then, there has been an outpouring of support—from the Dare Youth Orchestra dedicating a performance to him to the local Good Guys vs. Cancer high school basketball tournament directing proceeds to aid him in his fight against cancer.

During the week of his transplant, there were photos and messages of students supporting him on First Flight High School and First Flight Middle School Facebook pages. Middle school students wore t-shirts with the words “Team Buford” intertwined with a ribbon while the high school students posted “First Flight is #Buford Strong.”

In the Voice interview, Buford explained that the stem cell donor was his brother Jesse, who had come up to North Carolina from Louisville. Following the procedure, he is staying at an apartment in Durham near the hospital for roughly three months. The transplant itself was an outpatient procedure.

Asked about his return to teaching in Dare County, he asserted that “I can’t wait to get back to teaching, and with even more passion.”  He also added that it is theoretically possible he that he may be able to return to the classroom in time for the start of the next school year.


  • Meg

    Go John Go!!!!

    Saturday, Feb 17 @ 8:34 pm
  • Cyndi S

    We miss you Mr. Buford! You’re on the homestretch now. We’re all here cheering you to the finish line!

    Sunday, Feb 18 @ 10:37 am