Mrs. Popejoy in her classroom during lunch. Thursday, Oct. 15. Staff Photo/ David Harris

“I was shocked.” said Mrs. Popejoy, a Spanish teacher at NDP, who overcame a battle with breast cancer in her life. So many people lose their fight to breast cancer and even Mrs. Popejoy believed she could lose hers. It was October 3rd, 2017 when Mrs. Popejoy got a call while she was on campus. It was shortly after she had finished testing and they wanted her to come in to see her results. Mrs. Popejoy declined to come in and just told them to tell her over the phone. It was then when the doctor broke the news to her that she had cancer. 

She immediately went to get a DNA test done to see if there was a mutation in her cells or if she was a carrier from her mother or father. It took six weeks for the test results to come back and she was immediately persuaded to enter chemotherapy as soon as possible. “They gave me six rounds (of drugs) every three weeks. It was very hard.” Through all of this, Mrs. Popejoy said the thing that kept her going the most was her trust in God. When questioned on if she ever doubted if she would beat breast cancer, she said, “I wasn’t sure what was going to be God’s will, but I was okay with what he wanted. My only prayer was to be healed and to live out the rest of my life. I had only been married for nine months and I had waited my entire life for that.”

Mrs. Popejoy fits the true definition of a fighter, as she would always express that she would do whatever needed to be done to make it through and live her life. Whether that would be changing her diet or going through countless trials of radiation treatment, she was willing and ready for whatever challenge she would face next. Michael D’Alonzo, a student in my spanish class who was present when Mrs. Popejoy was telling the class about her story, had this to say about her. “To overcome a battle like that and still show up every day to do your job says a lot about her.” She truly has the respect and support of all students and staff at NDP.

Mrs. Popejoy undergoing chemotherapy. November 2017. Staff Photo/ David Harris

At her lowest, Mrs. Popejoy still found the will and passion to continue to teach. There were some days she could barely even get out of her chair to teach the class, but she continued to push and do what she loves most. After more than a year of treatment and help from the people closest to her, Mrs. Popejoy was finally diagnosed as cancer free March 16th, 2018. After her final surgery and pathology exams, the doctors saw that the cancer was gone. Every year in October, we are given a month to pay respects and think of those who have undergone breast cancer. Mrs. Popejoy reminds us all to have faith in God even when you are at your lowest and to continue to do what you love no matter what you’re going through.