The fight for survival

Last month, during Breast Cancer Awareness month, students and staff celebrate survivors and support those still fighting


Rachel Kaminski

October was Breast Cancer Awareness month, and both students and staff found ways to show their support beyond simply wearing pink — from running and raising money at 5Ks to staying at the side of loved ones fighting their diagnosis.

Eli Frommes, Staff Writer

A student runs a 5K in a neighborhood in Woodstock to help raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness month. He runs also to support his mom, who has had breast cancer in the past. He doesn’t want anybody to go through what he and his mom went through.

October was Breast Cancer Awareness month where many people either mourn the loss of loved ones to breast cancer or celebrate another year with family and friends who have had breast cancer. Many also use October to raise money to help those who currently have breast cancer. 

The month also brings all the fighters together. People who are currently in the battle with breast cancer, whether it’s their first or fifth fight, or even people who have won their battle. 

Freshman Campus librarian and English teacher Angela Welch, a survivor herself, says, “This month holds much significance for me, but not for the reasons one may think. See, my third daughter was born October 2, 2015. Thus, October will always hold a special reminder to me of not only my triumph and survival over breast cancer, but my daughter’s as well. I found out that I had breast cancer when I was already well aware that I would be entering the second trimester of my pregnancy.”

Having breast cancer is scary, but also having a loved one who has breast cancer and the possibility of losing them to it takes a toll on friends and family.

“My grandmother this most recent September died of breast cancer,” says sophomore Jamison Shea, “and I was really close with her, so it hits home to me because I don’t think any person should have to deal with that.” 

While having breast cancer people have to face many obstacles, whether it’s scheduling a ton of appointments or staying positive around family when they have no idea what’s going to happen next.

Welch says, “I started going to a ridiculous number of appointments with surgeons, oncologists and prenatal specialists. I took getting second opinions to a whole new level. I wanted to gather as many professional opinions as possible to best plan my path ahead.”

“Due to the pregnancy ‘complication’ that so many saw,” she continued, “I focused on the cancer being the ‘complication.’ I took all my information and clearly mapped out a plan of action from start to end with my family and doctors.”

Breast Cancer Awareness month not only impacts those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, but also those helping the families of those fighting the battle. Many charities raise money to help those who have breast cancer as well as helping families who have had a loved one pass due to it. 

Junior Victoria Sorensen said, “This month, my mom worked really hard to set up fundraisers for the family health partnership clinic.”

This partnership clinic helps to support women who do not always have access to the treatment they need. Her family even participated in the Care 4 You 5K, and they volunteered to help with the 5K afterparty. 

“My mom is an ambassador for their program and has worked with them all year to set up fundraising opportunities for this month,” Sorensen adds. 

Through the hard times, the MCHS community has stepped up to help people put up a fight and process the emotions that they are going through. This includes both students and staff. 

Welch says, “I was hunkered down with my immediate family, but my extended family kept me well aware of their love and support. Friends and family sent letters and made meals for us and would constantly ask to help.

“My [District 156] family was a huge part of this support and reminded me daily that they had my back,” Welch continued. “I received a card every single day from a different colleague reminding me that I was being thought of, supported, and encouraged that I could overcome my diagnosis.”

Through all the hard times and all the pain people are going through, family is one of the biggest parts of recovery, family will always be there even during hard times. 

Welch says, “In my darkest moments, I reminded myself that I would rather go through this than watch my mother or daughter. So I was happy to take cancer on. Much of my strength came from my family and daughter-to-be.”

Through all the good, all the bad, all the sadness, and happiness this month brings there is always something that this month means to someone and always something people can do to help, whether that’s to support a friend or family member.