As teachers fight cancer, students boost Relay For Life fundraising

WISSAHICKON — Jenny Kern turned 40 on January 18, 2020 and was initially scheduled to celebrate her birthday on a family trip to the Bahamas. Instead, she finds herself beginning to have a difficult recovery from her cancer surgery.

Kern has been a teacher of business education for 15 years at Wisahikon High School and is an advisor to the School’s Future Business Leaders of America Club (FBLA). She is also the wife and active mother of two young daughters on the softball team she coaches.

She says she didn’t even think it was possible when Khan began to feel “tired and sick” because she had no family history of cancer. Even after feeling a lump in her throat, she thought it was an infection until her prescribed medications didn’t work. On December 9, 2019, Khan was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

Following her diagnosis, surgery to remove the thyroid gland was performed in January 2020, with 38 lymph nodes, 19 of which tested positive for cancer. After her surgery, she developed an infection that interfered with her ability to swallow and she was absent from school for five weeks. Treatment with radioactive iodine was given in the spring, and she stayed away from her family for another week. She was isolated, ate on a paper plate, and abandoned her clothes to protect others from radiation exposure.

As Khan was experiencing the test of cancer, Wisahikon high school student Christina O’Farrell realized there was something she could help. O’Farrell is a former student of Kerns and a board member of the FBLA Club. She is also a Volunteer for Relay For Life of the American Cancer Society. Relay For Life is an annual community event to celebrate cancer survivors, remember lost loved ones, and raise money to fight cancer.

Jenny Khan (submitted photo) surrounded by seniors from Wisahikon High School and Relay For Life volunteers Lauren Koeman (left) and Christina Ofarrell.

“MS. Khan’s illness shaped how I was involved in the year,” O’Farrell said. She and her fellow students raised $ 1,500 for the American Cancer Society from the Wisahikon family in 2020.

In both 2020 and 2021, the face-to-face Relay For Life event was canceled due to a pandemic. But people like O’Farrell still raised money for the cause. Relay For Life isn’t a race, but offerings and others have shown their support by walking individually or in small groups on weekends when community events will take place.

This year, Relay For Life is back as a face-to-face event at the Wissahikon High School stadium from 5pm to 10pm on Saturday, June 25th. This is an opportunity for people of all ages to spend the night together to support their important goals. Admission is free and donations are welcome. We recommend that you stop by at any time. Come to dinner with family and friends, enjoy activities and entertainment, and celebrate your loved ones with cancer in the sparkling Luminaria. For more information, please visit the Relay For Life website in Wisahikon Valley. Alternatively, please contact Natalie Lynch (

“Everyone who can come should come and help,” said O’Farrell. “Even those who are not directly affected can recognize what this is a valuable cause and how it affects many people in our community that night. You can donate even if you can’t come. There are no restrictions on how you can participate. “

As for Kahn, she’s fine and is back in the classroom and softball field. Her family also had to take her on her late birthday trip to the Bahamas. But her cancer experience changed her. “Things happen for a reason,” she said. “There’s a silver lining. I don’t take things for granted. I’m looking at the big picture, and I’m very grateful that I’m still here.”

As teachers fight cancer, students boost Relay For Life fundraising

Source link As teachers fight cancer, students boost Relay For Life fundraising

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