By Gary Lloyd
Turn Trussville Pink founder Joshua White says the cause has been “very blessed” to have two Hewitt-Trussville High School teachers who have been affected by breast cancer involved.
Theater teacher Paula Brown and pre-AP ninth-grade English teacher Christy Dooley have both been affected by breast cancer.
Brown, a Hewitt-Trussville High School teacher for 12 years, was diagnosed when she was 43, just three years after she had brain surgery for a benign brain tumor. She went through four months of chemotherapy and had a bilateral mastectomy. Six months later, she had reconstructive breast surgery.
“The only way to get through an experience like this is to have a strong faith (and) relationship with God,” said Brown, who has been cancer-free for six years. “I have the most unbelievable husband, family and friends, and I am more than grateful to all of them for walking through this time with me.”
Dooley, in her seventh year at the high school, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1995, when she was 23. In 2010, apparently as a result of radiation treatment when she fought Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Dooley was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was treated at UAB and has been in remission since last year.
Dooley, who taught through her treatments, said teachers, administrators and students “loved me through it.” She said Turn Trussville Pink, to her, means that people care. She believes she has a responsibility as a survivor to be a role model for those going through cancer. She wants students to see that they can make it through whatever they’re going through.
“You can just fight it and beat it,” Dooley said. “It just makes you appreciate every day.”
White said Brown was going through treatment when he got the idea for Turn Trussville Pink.
“It was Paula’s strength that inspired Turn Trussville Pink,” White said. “She is a very special lady and someone who I deeply admire.”
White said Dooley has been an encouragement to him and many others.
“She is a ‘balcony person,’ someone who builds everyone around them up,” he said.
Both, however, have been instrumental in the citywide event, which took place today.
“We are very blessed to have both of them so diligently support Turn Trussville Pink,” White said.
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.