by Aliyah Armstrong | editor-in-chief

When the Johnson community found out that the PALS and Career and Technology Teacher Leah Plumas was diagnosed with breast cancer, the school banded together and responded the only way they knew how – from the heart.

“I found out in August right before school started,” Plumas said.

After being diagnosed, Plumas understood that her school year would need some adjusting.

“Well, it hasn’t really been too different except that I’ve missed a lot of school so far this year. I had my first round of chemo at the beginning of September and it required me to miss a full week of school already because of the side effects,” Plumas said. “I have my second round on Wednesday of this week and it will probably end up requiring me to miss another week of school because of the side effects and I have chemo until the end of December so my schedule will just be a little bit different, I’ll be gone a lot.”

The support she has received from members of the community has been helpful in offsetting the challenges.

Students have lined up at all the lunches to buy a shirt and support PALs sponsor Leah Plumas

Students have lined up at all the lunches to buy a shirt and support PALs sponsor Leah Plumas

“There’s been a lot of support within the Johnson community, it’s just been amazing. The Paws for a Cause shirt has been of course very overwhelming and very sweet and I’m touched that they would’ve of course do that,” Plumas said.

In the past, the profit from the Paws for a Cause t-shirts have gone to an organization, but the decision to donate to Plumas was of course an easy one.

“It actually started from ‘Jonesy’ [Mrs. Jones]  and Mrs. McKinley just having a conversation and then they brought me into the conversation and I was all for it so they were just toying around with ideas and thought about it and that’s how we just started running with it,” Dance and Drill Director Stephanie Treviño-Felan said.

The profit is being given to Plumas and her family and it is considerably bigger than it has been in past years.

“Oh it’s more, without a doubt. There’s not even a question about it. I don’t know numbers wise but I know profit wise we’ve only profited maybe close to $800 to donate to Bright Pink which is where we normally have donated- for breast cancer research and so forth but without a doubt, hands down, we know this is going to be the largest [amount] we’ve sold,” Treviño-Felan said.

This increase in profit is the result of students, teachers, and parents reaching out to the community to sell more shirts for a cause that hits close to home.

“We had order forms kind of throughout campus whether it was the student council room or down at the welcome center, Mr. Mehlbrech emailed the community, and we had hard copies here in the dance studio,” Treviño-Felan said. “We actually not just sold here at Johnson, a lot of PALS sponsors were asking for the order form so a lot of it was sold through email and then we would coordinate with them to pick up all their orders in person and then just gave them over to our Spirit Club members.”

In addition to donating the profits from Paws for a Cause t-shirts, the faculty are doing more things to support Plumas.

“I know we’ve given her little care packages on the days that she has chemotherapy, we’ve done that, we organized that through an organization called Faculty Care Committee (FCC). We’ve also opened up a bank account for her and so we can give donations, I know there’s a GoFundMe, that her friends have put together as well for her,” Treviño-Felan said.

Students and parents are also chipping in to assist Plumas and her family.

“My PALS have also created a shirt and I think they’ll start to sell that this week, a ‘Team Plumie’ shirt, which is kind of the nickname that my PALS have called me over the past few years,” Plumas said. “Then I have some PAL parents who arrange meals for me when I have chemotherapy which has been great to feed my family and then of course, just my help from my colleagues like when I have to leave campus early, or you know, on the days that I’m not feeling so good, they cover for me which has been amazing, very lucky to have so much support here around campus.”

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About The Author

Aliyah Armstrong is a senior at Johnson High School and an editor-in-chief of MyJagNews. She spends most of her time dancing, as a Belle and outside of school. When she is not dancing, she spends time playing with her German Shepherd puppy, Cinna (yes, he is named after The Hunger Games character).

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