Fighting Cancer with Courage: Teacher shows facing fears can hel - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Fighting Cancer with Courage: Teacher shows facing fears can help overcome disease

(Source: WTOL) (Source: WTOL)
VAN BUREN, OH (WTOL) -

Surviving cancer takes more than will and strength. It also takes courage. This is particularly true with patients with children. 

But for Dana Patterson, her fight took an extra amount of courage because she had to be courageous not just for her children, but her elementary school students.

“Of course, there were tears at first. I was still teaching. I had two kids, a daughter in middle school and a son in high school," Patterson said. "So I wanted to be brave for my students and my own children."

Even though cancer runs in her family, Patterson was shocked when she learned she had breast cancer.

“It was actually one year from the day that we buried [my mother] that I found a lump," Patterson said. "I was always leary but I always thought I would be older."

Patterson had a bilateral mastectomy and started losing hair.

"After it really started coming out a lot, my sister shaved my head," Patterson recalled. "There were tears when that happened.”

Despite this, Patterson continued to teach at Van Buren Elementary like she had been for decades, channeling and controlling her emotions. As only a teacher could, she read a book to her third graders to explain her condition.

"I read a book to them about a teacher having cancer and then we talked about it," Patterson explained. "And, of course, most of them were raising their hand telling me about their Grandma died of cancer, those things, trying to relate to the whole thing."

Patterson did not try to hide her fight away from her students. Instead, she used her fight as a learning experience.

“When I went down for chemo, I face-timed the third grade on our smart board," Patterson said. "I kind of talked to them and told them what I was doing when I wasn't going to be there."

Patterson is now cancer free. But while that battle is won, she continues a different battle. 

Taking her role as a teacher outside the classroom, Patterson uses her experience to teach courage and how to truly appreciate the life you are given.

"I want to be happy every day because you never know when your time is up here on earth," Patterson explained. "So I want to choose to be happy every day."

Because Patterson carries a cancer gene, her children have a 50 percent chance of also being carriers. Her 18-year-old daughter is hoping to get tested soon. 

In the meantime, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure has become a family affair ever since Patterson was diagnosed years ago.

This year, they will attend the Findlay race as an example of how facing your fears of cancer can help you ultimately beat the disease and inspire others in process.

Follow WTOL:  

Download our app here

Copyright 2017 WTOL. All rights reserved.

  • Headlines from Lucas, Wood, Ottawa, Fulton & Monroe CountiesNewsMore>>

  • ODOT already hiring seasonal snowplow drivers

    ODOT already hiring seasonal snowplow drivers

    Wednesday, August 15 2018 5:09 PM EDT2018-08-15 21:09:35 GMT
    (Source: Ohio Department of Transportation)(Source: Ohio Department of Transportation)
    (Source: Ohio Department of Transportation)(Source: Ohio Department of Transportation)

    It may still be summer but ODOT is thinking about winter. ODOT is looking to hire seasonal snowplow drivers in multiple counties.

    More >>

    It may still be summer but ODOT is thinking about winter. ODOT is looking to hire seasonal snowplow drivers in multiple counties.

    More >>
  • Statewide endangered child alert issued for 2-year-old Ohio boy

    Statewide endangered child alert issued for 2-year-old Ohio boy

    Wednesday, August 15 2018 5:09 PM EDT2018-08-15 21:09:33 GMT
    Atticus Phillips, 2, is the subject of a statewide endangered missing child advisory.Atticus Phillips, 2, is the subject of a statewide endangered missing child advisory.
    Atticus Phillips, 2, is the subject of a statewide endangered missing child advisory.Atticus Phillips, 2, is the subject of a statewide endangered missing child advisory.

    A statewide endangered missing child advisory is issued for a 2-year-old Ohio boy who last was seen with his mother in Montgomery County.  An endangered missing child alert is not an Amber Alert, but the child is believed to be in danger. 

    More >>

    A statewide endangered missing child advisory is issued for a 2-year-old Ohio boy who last was seen with his mother in Montgomery County.  An endangered missing child alert is not an Amber Alert, but the child is believed to be in danger. 

    More >>
  • Central Catholic participates in ALICE training

    Central Catholic participates in ALICE training

    Wednesday, August 15 2018 5:03 PM EDT2018-08-15 21:03:35 GMT
    (Source: WTOL)(Source: WTOL)
    tral Catholic track and field coach, Angie Knannlein, sprang into action at a tCenrack meet to save a teen's life. (Source: WTOL)tral Catholic track and field coach, Angie Knannlein, sprang into action at a tCenrack meet to save a teen's life. (Source: WTOL)

    Central Catholic is making sure its faculty and staff know what to do if a shooting happened at the school. They teamed up with Mercy Health Police Department for ALICE training.

    More >>

    Central Catholic is making sure its faculty and staff know what to do if a shooting happened at the school. They teamed up with Mercy Health Police Department for ALICE training.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly