CENTRAL HIGH, Okla. (TNN) - The Central High school district is coming together to show support for those in their district battling cancer. One of their principals and a teacher’s husband were diagnosed with cancer over the summer.
Battling cancer can be a long journey, but it’s one a teacher, a principal, and their families are not going through alone.
"Everybody says they're praying for us and I tell them 'I can feel it,'” math teacher Brigit Minden said. “I can tell. I don't ever feel unsupported. I don't ever feel worried. I know that they got us covered, and they're there for us if I never need anything."
Minden overcame skin cancer years ago, and now her husband Corey is getting treatment for Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
"His diagnosis was kind of a shock,” Minden said. “But we've been dealing with it, but the community's been a great support. We're just getting through it one day at a time."
One way people in the district showed their support was through the Spirit of Survival. Minden has taken part the last three years and always extends the invite to her fellow teachers. This year, around 30 people decided to run or walk.
"It was fantastic,” she said. “They even stuck around after the race just to cheer us on, and it was just really great to see that kind of support surround you."
Central High teachers, staff, and students weren't only running for Minden, though. Wendy DeIorio, the junior high and high school principal, was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. Chemo treatments kept her from participating this year.
"They came in and said we just want to show you that we're there,” DeIorio said. “We're there for you…not just for me or for Mr. Minden, we're there for all survivors, and this is what we're doing to show our support."
Going into this school year with the new diagnoses, she decided she would try to keep day-to-day operations the same as last year.
"I want school and the school year to run 100% as normal as possible. I said 'you'll just see me a few days less. Email me.' I connected a webcam to my senior English classroom yesterday,” DeIorio said. “So, my last two treatments are going to be a little bit tougher, so I said we're going to teach virtually, and you guys can still depend on me. I'll be here for questions and whatever you guys need. So, I'll be there for them."
She said students often ask her how she's doing when they see her in the halls.
"They care, and I am so proud of them for really stepping up this year, and showing such a positive character…not just for me but for Mrs. Minden and her kids go here and they're supportive of her kids. It just really shows the grit of what this community is made of."
DeIorio said she has a couple of surgeries scheduled for later this year, followed by radiation.
Not only did the community show their support through the Spirit of Survival, but they’ve also held fundraisers for the two families. Both of the women tell us saying thank you is not enough to show appreciation for everything that’s been done for them.