Teachers survive cancer, support Relay


Claire Hunt

For the second year, Hereford will be hosting the Relay for Life this spring. This event celebrates cancer survivors and raises money to fund cancer research. In light of this event, it’s important that we remember to take the time to celebrate the cancer survivors in our school and community.

English teacher and theater director, Mr. Chris Rose, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1997 and was announced cancer free six months later. Mr. Rose recommends one go to a doctor as soon as they suspect something is wrong, “I waited, as do most men with my condition, until it was almost too late,” stated Mr. Rose, who went through several months of radiation treatment, “Radiation saps your energy,” he stated, “and although I tried to continue teaching like normal, [I] had to sit down and rest continually. Several of my students took on leadership roles…It became a great collaboration between the [students] and myself.” Mr. Rose claims that listening to the doctor’s advice was incredibly effective. “Take advantage of every opportunity given to you–and don’t rule anything out. I did everything the doctors recommended – and I thanked them repeatedly,” he stated. Mr. Rose hopes to be able to participate in the Relay this spring.

Mr. John Lange, math teacher, was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2009 and had 8% of his kidney removed, which defeated the cancer. Although Mr. Lange’s surgery was successful, complications arose, resulting in a blood clot in his leg. After having an IV in his arm for a long time, Mr. Lange also developed skin cancer in his hand, which was removed through minor surgery. He stated, “I believe that [my diagnosis] was most helpful to me to understand that life can be (and is) unfair, that I was blessed that it was discovered before it could grow into a more serious problem, and that keeping positive while dealing with the situation is very important to one’s own well-being during this time of stress.” Mr. Lange finds Relay for Life to be a great cause and plans to donate to the event.

Ms. Lisa Sopher, English teacher, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 with treatment which lasted about a year. “I faced was fatigue from treatment, but I had a lot of support from my family, coworkers, and students,” stated Mrs. Sopher. During treatment, Mrs. Sopher stayed active and exercised regularly in order to cope with the side effects of her medication. “I would urge anyone facing a cancer diagnosis to rest assured that one can survive and thrive after having this disease,” she stated, “I would also urge people to reach out to others during this time. I could not have fared as well as I did without the wonderful people around me, and I will be forever grateful to them.” Mrs. Sopher walked in the Relay for Life last year and plans to participate in the event again this year.

Relay for Life will be held at Hereford High School on Saturday, April 13. For more information, visit relayforlife.org.