Get Pink: Mustang teacher battles breast cancer, fights for more education funding

(Shardaa Gray/KOKH)

They say that life is a journey and it teaches you lessons you'll never forget, but for Yukon teacher Joy Osbourne she never would have thought breast cancer would make her a better person.

It was a phone call that Lakehoma Elementary teacher Joy Osborne never expected to get.

"I just remember them saying. 'I'm Sorry, but it's cancer'." Osborne said. "I just lost it. I felt blind-sided. I was that person that went every year for my mammograms."

In July of 2015, Osborne says she felt a lump on one of her breasts, which was a triple-negative but when she went in for an MRI.

"It ended up being a second tumor. My tumors are very rare because one is triple-negative and the other one is hormone positive," Osborne said.

Once school began, she was there physically, but couldn't perform her normal duties, such as setting up her classroom.

"Finally, my husband took me up to my classroom and the teachers in my building had my whole classroom put together, which brought me to tears because it's amazing," Osborne said.

A lot of people took care of her, including her students.

"My kids took care of me. And that meant a lot because I missed five days of school during my entire chemo, rounds and treatments," Osborne said.

One of those students was Tyler Eldridge.

"No goofing around, just stay calm, do what she says. Don't mess around, don't talk. Just listen," Eldridge said.

Her fight wasn't just with breast cancer. It was at the Captiol as well.

"The kids right now have never seen a fully funded classroom. I want my kids to have smaller class sizes," Osborne said.

She came out everyday of the teacher walkout to join thousands of teachers fighting for education.

"I want them to have things that are going to help them learn and smaller class sizes is huge," Osborne said.

Eldridge says Osborne has made a lasting impact on him.

"She's strong, she fights for what she thinks is right. She is one of the best teachers I've ever had," Eldridge said.

Osborne's last treatment was December 10, 2015. She is still taking medicine for the rest of her life because she can't have hormones in her blood system.

"I knew that there were going to be tough days, but I also knew that you can't sit around and have pity-parties. You've gotta get out there and do and try." Osborne said.

She is now writing a book about the different stages of losing her hair. It's called "Waiting for my ponytail".

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