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Friday, September 28, 2018

Teacher Recently Diagnosed with Breast Cancer Finds Strength in Colors for Caring

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June 11, 2018 is a day that will be forever etched into DeAnna Garner’s memory. Along with her wedding planning, closing on a new house and enjoying the summer, she received devastating news from her doctor.

“I have triple negative breast cancer, and then it’s also in my lymph nodes, so I’m stage three,” explained the Martha Reid Leadership Academy art teacher. “It makes you feel kind of like poisoned or something. I wanted it out of me.”

Garner said breaking the news to her kids was probably the hardest part. She said it was also hard reliving the moment of her diagnosis with each person she told.

The mother of four began chemotherapy in the summertime, and shaved her head beforehand due to the hair loss it causes.

Garner (center) and her coworkers sport one of the shirts
that was made in her honor.
She was worried about how to introduce herself to her new students with her new look, so she turned to her best coping mechanism—humor.

“I wore a shirt that said, ‘Does this shirt make Ms. Dee’s head look bald?’” Garner said with a chuckle. “That’s how I want them to know that it’s okay.”

Apart from comedic relief and her strong faith, Garner noted that the love she receives from her school has been tremendous on her road to recovery. She said there have been fundraisers, shirts, gifts and an outpouring of kind words that have helped her make it through tough times.

The teacher also said Mansfield ISD’s Colors for Caring monthly initiative, which encourages the community to wear cancer awareness colors to show support for a loved one affected by cancer, took on a whole new meaning for her.

“I think Colors for Caring is amazing because coming to school on a day when people were wearing pink for me…it does make you feel better,” Garner added. “I think it’s really good.”

Garner underwent her most recent chemotherapy on Sept. 20. She has a few more rounds of chemotherapy to go before she undergoes surgery.

She hopes to transition from cancer patient to cancer survivor by August 2019. Learn more about MISD's Colors for Caring days here.