A celebratory trip

Math teacher Teresa Hogan and six other BVNW faculty members went on a trip last weekend to celebrate Hogan’s successful battle against cancer.

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A celebratory trip

Photo courtesy of Hogan

Photo courtesy of Hogan

Photo courtesy of Hogan

Photo courtesy of Hogan

Xiqing Wang, Writer

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Math teacher Teresa Hogan was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer that affects the lymphatic system, part of the immune system Dec. 29 of last year. When Hogan first relayed her diagnosis to her closest friends and fellow faculty members at BVNW, they planned to take a trip together after Hogan beat cancer.

After finding out that she had successfully beat cancer after chemotherapy treatment July 28, Hogan and math teachers Jamie Finical, Kerry Kinkelaar, Robin Hodges, Karen Stohlmann, informational technology specialist Candace Ritter and broadcast teacher Kim White, went on a trip to Hermann, Mo. Nov. 6-8.

Finical said the group took a train from Lee’s Summit, Mo. to Hermann, where they stayed at a bed and breakfast. Hogan said they chose Herrmann, a small town near the Missouri River, as their destination because she had visited it previously and really enjoyed her time there. In addition, she said Finical had never ridden a train before the trip, and there was train transportation available to Hermann and back.

“We just toured the city, did a little shopping, played some games, played silly card games and just had fun,” Hogan said.

According to Stohlmann, the trip was a celebration of Hogan’s successful fight against cancer.

“We were all devastated by her announcement of her diagnosis,” Stohlmann said. “We all watched almost a year-long battle that involved some unknowns, but always bravery…so the trip was planned to celebrate the successful end of treatment of Ms. Hogan’s cancer.”

However, Hogan said, for her, the trip was not a celebration of her survival but rather a celebration of her friends’ support in helping her during her cancer treatment.

“To me, it was celebrating good friends,” Hogan said. “They think it was celebrating me, but I think it was celebrating them and the fact that they were there for me and did so much for me.”

Stohlmann said in addition to being a celebration of Hogan’s successful fight against cancer, the trip was especially meaningful to her because she was reminded of her friendships that stemmed and were built around a common profession.

“It was a beautiful location with amazing women,” Stohlmann said. “It said to me that I have made wise investments in my career, in my friendships, that I had the opportunity to be with such amazing women for this weekend.”

During her fight against cancer, Hogan said the teachers who went on the trip with her took on a lot of her responsibilities at school, running school work back and forth from the school and helping her students while she was away. Kinkelaar said the group just tried to take on whatever they could in regards to Hogan’s school work.

Photo courtesy of Hogan

Photo courtesy of Hogan

“She’s pretty strong and pretty independent as is,” Kinkelaar said. “But we tried to support her at school with anything she might need, whether that be helping her sub or helping her kids.”

In addition to all six of her friends helping with her the school aspect of her life, Hogan said they did other things to aid her during her treatment and recovery process as well. For example, Hogan said Stohlmann put up a railing in her house so she could get from her garage to her house when she came home from the hospital.

“The list is endless,” Hogan said. “It goes from just being my friend to being there when I needed someone to talk to or something to talk about. They collected money, they made food, they brought me movies to watch; they were there for me over and over again. It’s truly an endless list.”

Finical said whether it was aiding with substitute plans or visiting Hogan in the hospital for morale support, helping Hogan throughout her cancer treatment was never really a question.

“It’s just what you do for your friends,” Finical said. “And it’s just what you do for your family. There’s a lot of talk at Northwest that we’re a big family, and we really are a big family. We really do care about each other and reach out and help one another…it’s just what you do.”

White, like Finical, said a great aspect of Northwest is that people stand by each other, which was evident in the way everybody rallied around Hogan when she announced her cancer diagnosis. White said something that many students might not realize is that teachers, like students, build friendships at school.

“Teachers have good friends and people that are important to us in this building,” White said. “We’ve worked with each other for years.You develop close friendships through time and through experience and through the things that you do with one another, and I think that’s really important.”

Hogan said having the support and friendships of the six other teachers whom she went on the trip with was what got her through her battle against cancer.

“It’s great to have the support of people that care about you and love you, and you feel the same way back to them,” Hogan said. “It’s beyond words wonderful. It was a great trip, and I’ll be forever happy.”