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Johnson Elementary wears pink to show support for breast cancer awareness

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It was a “pinkalicious” day at Johnson Elementary School.

From hot to bubblegum to powder, every shade of pink was on display at the school as faculty and staff went for a total pink out day Monday to honor two of their own who have battled breast cancer.

“There is not a single person on campus that hasn’t been affected in some way by breast cancer,” said teacher Becky Dawson. “Whether they have battled it themselves or have a loved one that has, we’ve all dealt with it.”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Dawson said that at a recent faculty meeting, it was decided to hold Pink Out Day to honor Cindy Bricker, the school’s music teacher, and Denise Newby, a fifth grade math teacher.

Both women have battled breast cancer and won.

Teachers and staff members wore pink Monday and even some of the students joined in the day by wearing pink themselves. To make the Pink Out complete, during their faculty meeting held Monday, the staff snacked on pink lemonade and pink cupcakes.

The Pink Out was humbling for Bricker and Newby, they agreed.

“It makes me feel good to know they care so much about us,” said Bricker. “I try to look at my fight against it as a bump in the road and not focus on it.”

Bricker was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993 and then again in 2013.

“I was blessed,” she said. “I found it early, but I do think about those that don’t make it. Honestly, looking back, I don’t know what I would have done without my coworkers.”

Newby agreed and said the Johnson staff was really more like family.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2007 after a routine mammogram,” Newby said. “When I was first diagnosed, my students and team teachers had a party for me to show their support.”

Newby’s chemo treatments were over that summer and she returned to school without her hair. “One of my students shaved his head so I wouldn’t have to be bald all alone,” she said. “Many of the younger students would stop me in the hall and ask why I didn’t have any hair. I’m hoping that in some way it helped them understand it’s fine to be different.”

Nathan Medley, instructional technology specialist, said that breast cancer hits close to home for him because his mother-in-law is a survivor.

“We also have several other teachers across the system who are dealing with it and I want to support them in any way I can,” he said.

Assistant Principal Tanya Welchel said she knows the entire school and community want to support Bricker and Newby.

“This is just one way to show our support and love for them,” she said. “We’ve always felt like Johnson is a very family-oriented school and everyone wants to be there for each other.”