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The Wildcat

The student news site of Warsaw High School

The Wildcat

The student news site of Warsaw High School

The Wildcat

Local breast cancer survivors feel school support during their fight

Photo used courtesy of the Benton County Enterprise
The pink out football game hit close to home when some of the Warsaw football team celebrated Heather Bagley on Friday, October 6.


Throughout the month of October, students promoted breast-cancer research and celebrated survivors because many students and staff have been affected by breast cancer diagnoses themselves or of a family member.

Many people have different ways to stay motivated and overcome this challenging time. 

“My motivation to overcome cancer was knowing I wanted to live for my family and my boys needed me,” South school teacher Heather Bagley said. 

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Bagley was diagnosed with breast cancer on December 12, 2022. She expressed how important God played a role in her journey. 

“I gave my cancer diagnosis to God and was alright with it,” she said.

 The diagnosis also had an impact on her children, many of whom are students in the district.

“I was nervous when I found out my mom was diagnosed with cancer,” junior Kendall Bagley said. 

Bagley has been very involved in the Warsaw Community, especially having five sons in the district. Three of them are WHS graduates and are still in school. 

 “The town of Warsaw said many prayers, and they were all felt! I am so grateful to live where I do and have the community support I had,” she said.


A middle school Special Education math teacher, April Simons, was also diagnosed on December 31, 2022.

Simons was supported on breast cancer awareness pink out night, at her daughter’s school (Kaylee Simons), on October 10. Simons expressed how she stayed motivated and her “why” for overcoming her cancer diagnosis. 

“My husband and my kids were my motivation, and, thankfully, my sister moved home in January after being in the military for 20 years! I have a great support system and tried keeping a positive attitude,” she said. 

Simons is still fighting.

 “I had two rounds of chemo. The first round was AC (Adriamycin cyclophosphamide), and the second was Taxol (Paclitaxel). It was a combined time of 20 weeks of treatment. I still have to do 20 rounds of radiation,” she said. 

There can be many effects that come with all of the different treatments taken. Simons talked about how the most significant impact on her personally had to have been the side effects from the chemo. Chemo always affected her the most, making her nauseous and tired during AC.

A WHS bus driver, substitute teacher, and a long-time community member was diagnosed with cancer on April 25, 2023, Mary Burke.

 Burke was put on radiation, had to travel to Kansas City, and finished her last round on July 27. Burke still has to be on medication for the next five years to ensure there isn’t a chance of cancer returning.

Burke stated her motivation was “to live her life to the fullest” throughout her journey. 

“The most difficult part of my journey was hearing the diagnosis, but with the love and support from her friends and family, it was something she knew she could overcome,” said Burke. 

Warsaw volleyball honored her on October 3, 2023, during the Pink Out game vs Smith-Cotton. Burke was the coach of the 2002 and 2003 conference championship teams. Burke was surprised with a bouquet before the varsity game started.

Bagley has this advice for people going through health scares.

“Rest when you can, lean on people when you need to, and give it all over to God, for He is the true healer,” said Bagley.

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About the Contributor
Mady Reimund
Mady Reimund, Staff Writer
Mady Reimund is a freshman and this is her first year writing for The Wildcat. She is involved in volleyball, basketball, and softball. She works at The Fix. Reimund also takes part in pep club. Her parents are Ashley and Shane Reimund, and her younger sister is a sixth grader this year at JBMS. After high school she plans to attend college, but she has not yet decided a future career path.

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