The Student News Site of Shadow Hills High School

The Knight Times

The Student News Site of Shadow Hills High School

The Knight Times

The Student News Site of Shadow Hills High School

The Knight Times

Shadow Hills Teacher And Breast Cancer Survivor

Mrs. Ramirez, Shadow Hills art teacher, shares her cancer survival story
Mateo Tostado
Mrs. Ramirez speaks with her art students on Oct. 19, 2023.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The yearly campaign began in 1985 by charitable organizations in an effort to raise awareness and money for research, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer. 

According to the American Cancer Society, in the United States in 2023 about 354,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women, and about 43,700 women will die from the disease. 

Behind these statistics are people, personally experiencing diagnosis and treatment, and each has a story to tell. Mrs. Ramirez, an art teacher at Shadow Hills High School and breast cancer survivor, is one of those storytellers.  

During the pandemic, Mrs. Ramirez and her husband, Mr. Ramirez – also a Shadow Hills teacher – were navigating being first-time parents when she developed an infection. She underwent extensive testing to determine the cause, and based on the results, was diagnosed with breast cancer.  

“None of us thought we would find anything,” Mrs. Ramirez explained. “I went to get a mammogram, ultrasound, and all these other tests. At the end of the tests, they told me I had cancer.” She was in complete denial.

They didn’t take the news well. Mrs. Ramirez said that her husband reacted worse than her. “The rest of my family handled it really well,” she pointed out. “My mom was a … rock.” She also credits her in-laws for maintaining a positive outlook. 

The art teacher was able to take the entire year off from teaching thanks to Catastrophic Sick Leave, a program that allows employees to donate their sick days to those who need it most.

When asked how she’s doing now, Mrs. Ramirez noted the ups and downs. 

“Everyday is different,” she said. “Physically I’m okay, cancer is gone.” 

The end of October will mark two years of being in full remission from the disease. It’s a goal her oncologist set, saying that once Mrs. Ramirez hits two years in remission, the cancer will likely never come back. 

“For anyone that has cancer, I would say that they’re stronger than they realize,” Mrs. Ramirez said. Adding, “Despite what they see from the outside, [they should] just remember that they are beautiful and gorgeous on the inside. That disease does not define who they are.”

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About the Contributors
Mateo Tostado, Staff Reporter
Mateo is a junior at Shadow Hills High School. Mateo was born in Indio and is the youngest of three brothers. He enjoys all forms of art, with his favorites being music and photography/film. During his free time he listens to music or hangs out with his friends. is overall favorite thing to do is express his creativity.
Arianna Tapia, Staff Reporter
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