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The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas

WINGSPAN

The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas

WINGSPAN

Pink ribbons hit close to home for some students on campus

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  • Pinkout month, a month celebrated across the country in support of Breast Cancer Awareness, hits close to home for two seniors on campus. Senior Kayla Winter (pictured second to the right) and senior Ryan Reid’s (pictured second to the left) mothers both suffered from breast cancer, and both won.

  • In 2006 Leslie Reid (pictured above), Ryan Reid’s (pictured below Leslie) mom, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Ryan was one at the time, and although she may not remember the time period while her mom fought cancer, each October leaves a lasting impact on her.

  • In October of 2015, senior Kayla Winter’s (pictured on the right) mom, Stephanie Winter (pictured on the left), received her diagnosis of breast cancer. While Kayla does not remember everything about her mom’s fight, she feels lucky to know her mom won the fight, when not all do.

Pink ribbons line the halls every October in support of Breast Cancer Awareness, but these pieces of fabric hit closer to home for some students on campus, two of them being seniors Ryan Reid and Kayla Winter.

It was in 2006 that Leslie Reid, senior Ryan Reid’s mom, received her diagnosis of breast cancer, and this led her down a five year journey of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and countless doctors visits.

“When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I immediately relied on faith and went into survivor mode,” Leslie said. “It’s hard to articulate, but true. We had two toddlers, ages one and two and a half years old and there was no time to feel sorry for myself.”

Leslie found strength in support from her family and friends. 

You never really ‘beat’ cancer, since there is no cure, however being in remission one day at a time, fills my spirit with joy, gratitude and love,

— mom Leslie Reid

“The outpouring of love, support, generosity and kindness was extraordinary,” Leslie said. “Through our small group at church to our Irish Catholic family, along with my high-school and college friends, we were unbelievably blessed.  Our house was cleaned, meals prepared, and the babies were doted upon.  Our guest room was filled with visitors each week who had flown in from all over the U.S. to take care of Team Reid. The deep-rooted bonds that were formed are priceless and truly remarkable.”

Five years after the diagnosis, Leslie was deemed “cancer free and in remission”.

Leslie Reid is pictured above holding her two daughters, Reilly and Ryan. “I live life to its fullest, don’t sweat the small stuff, and remain loyal to our family and friends,” Leslie said. (Provided by Leslie Reid)

“Beating cancer is a life-long feat,” Leslie said. “You never really ‘beat’ cancer, since there is no cure, however being in remission one day at a time, fills my spirit with joy, gratitude and love.”

Although Ryan was too young to remember her mom’s fight with cancer, knowing what her mom has been through has left a lasting impact on her. 

“It’s not necessarily harder, it’s more just feeling more appreciation for how hard she fought during that time of her life,” Ryan said. “I was so young when she had breast cancer so I never really got to experience what she had to go through but it will always make me nervous thinking if I could get it when I grow up.”

Breast cancer has impacted Leslie in several ways, one being her outlook on life.

“My perspective on life certainly changed per my battle with breast cancer,” Leslie said. “I live life to its fullest, don’t sweat the small stuff, and remain loyal to our family and friends. The Lord has blessed Team Reid with a passion to give, support, and love all to whom we come into contact with. 2 Timothy 1:7 ‘For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline’ Amen!”

Nearly a decade later, senior Kayla Winter’s mom, Stephanie Winter, received her breast cancer diagnosis in October of 2015, when Kayla was in the fourth grade.

“In November 2015, I had a radical mastectomy and reconstruction,” Stephanie said. “Something little went wrong, and I had another minor surgery the next day, but I really don’t remember it.  There are a couple of weeks I don’t remember very well around this time.”

Kayla can recall the moment finding out her mom had breast cancer.

All I really knew then was that cancer is bad and makes people really sick, so I was shocked and just felt sad for her and for my family,

— senior Kayla Winter

“I remember my mom bringing me in her room and telling me she had breast cancer,” Kayla said. “All I really knew then was that cancer is bad and makes people really sick, so I was shocked and just felt sad for her and for my family.”

Stephanie had her first round of chemotherapy that December.

A common side effect of chemotherapy treatments is hair loss. Before losing her hair, Stephanie shaved her hair off to donate it. (Provided by Stephanie Winter)

“I didn’t get really sick like they show in the movies, because my doctors took really good care of me to manage the side effects,” Stephanie said. “I lost my hair and wore a wig or a head covering. They gave me an injection to help build up my immune system the day after chemo. It caused body pain, but kept me from getting super sick while my immune system was suppressed.”

She then entered her second round of chemotherapy.

“The second chemo wasn’t as severe as the first, it just caused body pain and chemo brain,” Stephanie said. “I was able to do some daily living activities during this time, like watching Kayla play volleyball or driving her to or from school.  I think this part of treatment was about four months. My sister took me to every single treatment, she’s my best friend.”

The final part of Stephanie’s fight was radiation treatments, which eventually ended her nine month long fight against breast cancer.

“Radiation treatments were really fast, but were daily Monday to Friday for about 6 weeks, or 33 treatments,” Stephanie said. “Radiation side effects weren’t too bad until toward the end.  I was mainly tired, but after a while the skin they are radiating kind of gives out.  It was like having a severe burn for a few weeks.  Again, my doctors were amazing about managing my pain and making sure I could live with it. I still remember the last day of treatment was July 18, 2016.”

Stephanie is picture to the left with Kayla pictured in the middle, along with husband and father Mark Winter. “She hid a lot of the hard moments and scary details from me at that time so that I wouldn’t be so anxious.” (Provided by Stephanie)

Being a mother during this time affected Stephanie, as she was unsure of whether Kayla would one day suffer against breast cancer too. But after genetic testing, Stephanie learned her breast cancer was not due to a genetic gene such as BRCA1 OR BRCA2.

“I felt obligated not to scare Kayla, because I didn’t know if she would be affected by something like this when she grew up,” Stephanie said. “Also, I’ve never experienced a dread like waiting for the results of my genetic testing.  I was so worried she would be affected if I had the gene.”

Now old enough to fully comprehend what her mom went through, Kayla understands the hard moments Stephanie hid from her.

“I think watching her fight cancer has definitely impacted me now because I’m now old enough to understand all that she went through and all she did for me during that time,” Kayla said. “She hid a lot of the hard moments and scary details from me at that time so that I wouldn’t be so anxious.”

It sounds strange, but every time I go to the cancer center for a checkup, I feel so lucky . . . some people have a much harder fight, and not all will win,

— mom Stephanie Winter

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women and Stephanie feels lucky to have won the fight, when not all do.

“I’m so thankful to still be here,” Stephanie said. “It sounds strange, but every time I go to the cancer center for a checkup, I feel so lucky.  Honestly, I felt that way during treatment too. Some people have a much harder fight, and not all will win.”

For Kayla, the month of October is a special reminder of her mom’s survival.

“I think pinkout month has become extra special to me now because of my mom,” Kayla said. “It’s a reminder of how fortunate I am that she’s healthy and a survivor, and of how many people are truly affected by breast cancer.”

It’s a testament shared by Leslie, to not take any day for granted.

Do not take life’s journey for granted,

— mom Leslie Reid

“Honestly, cancer is a ghastly beast, it takes on many forms, and we have yet to find a cure,” Leslie said. “Therefore, remaining steadfast and arming ourselves with knowledge will be the ultimate key to success. As a mother to daughters, I preach a ‘daily life lesson’ of being ‘street smart’! Do not take life’s journey for granted.  Be on alert, offer forgiveness, and love unconditionally. For me, I do my very best to heed that advice to ensure that my trust in God’s will for Reilly and Ryan will suffice.”

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Haley Ward
Haley Ward, Editor-in-Chief
Haley Ward is a senior and in her third year with Wingspan. On campus, she serves as Student Council President, she is on the Varsity cheer team, and she is a member of National Honor Society. She loves spending time with her friends at Younglife, shopping with her mom, and spending time with her family and dog. She aims to be like the journalists from her top movies, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and The Devil Wears Prada! Haley is so excited to be one of the Editor-in-Chiefs this year, and she can’t wait for everything her senior year will bring! Contact Haley: haley.ward.013@k12.friscoisd.org

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