A feeling of support

Published 9:01 am Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Saluda School P.E. teacher Kathy Angier (fourth from left) walks a team lap at Polk’s Relay for Life Friday, April 29 with her fellow teachers, Saluda School principal Ronette Dill and students. Angier was diagnosed with breast cancer almost four years ago. (photo by Samantha Hurst)

Saluda principal shares story at Relay for Life
Walking a few laps around a track pales in comparison to the physical toll Saluda School principal Ronette Dill knows her employee Kathy Angier has endured over the past four years.
“A few years ago our P.E. teacher [Angier] found out she had breast cancer and I think it caused us to all rally together,” Dill said.
Cancer not only affected Angier’s family once, it hit them twice within the same year.
Her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer in January of 2008.
Angier knew it would be a good idea to get a mammogram in light of her sister’s condition. That May she, too, was diagnosed with the disease.
“I thought there was no way I could have it at the same time as she had it, but I did,” Angier said. “Luckily, I did very well with treatments.”
Angier said her experience with support from coworkers, her students and their parents really reflects the feeling of support she sees at Relay events.
“A lot of the parents and students were really there for me,” she said. “One of my kindergarteners, when she found out I was going to lose my hair, she wanted to give me hers.”
Saluda School became intensely involved in Relay because Angier committed herself as team captain. She said she personally understands the importance of raising money for research especially.
“A lot of people don’t understand where the money goes,” Angier said. “But it amazes me all the new treatments they have developed because of the funds ACS raises through Relay.”
One of those drugs is Herceptin, which is used in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. Angier took this treatment for one year and has been in remission three years now.
Dill said like many tight-knit community groups, Saluda School has faced difficult moments with cancer, watching a teacher pass away 10 years ago and losing a former custodian to the disease. She said she knows many students have also had loved ones directly affected.
The school has done whatever it could to bring in funds, including holding casual days for teachers, allowing students to wear hats one day for $1, holding car washes and selling cupcakes at Relay.
For Irene Settle of Landrum, a 15-year cancer survivor, seeing so many people come out to support those affected by the disease almost brought her to tears.
“We’re here to try and save somebody’s life,” Settle said. “I’ve lost a lot of people to cancer and I just want to show other people the same support I received from friends, family, church and the cancer society.”
Polk County’s Relay for Life coordinators hoped to raise more than $60,000 this year.

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