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When pink hits home

Seniors Blake Jacobs, Jon Los, Mike Andrews, and Tyler Vasconzez pose with Jennifer Heuck on the bleachers of the stadium (J. Heuck).

According to, about one in eight U.S. women (just under 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetimes. Actually, about 232,340 new cases of evasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in 2013 alone.

(J. Heuck)
(J. Heuck)

But one of them, Jennifer Heuck, can stand in front of her physical education class and proudly say she has been cancer free for almost a year, with her anniversary being June 1.
Heuck, who actually had a double mastectomy, would like to share a new side to beauty.
The 45-year-old said her world was turned upside down the day she answered a phone call on a bitterly cold January day that would leave her breathless and on the floor.
It all started with a routine mammogram on Dec. 12, 2012.
While in the North with daughters Hannah, 17, and Emma, 12, and her loving husband Phil for a little break, they sat together for 48 hours with heavy hearts.
All they could do was wait.
And the time came, around 2:00 on Jan. 2, 2013. The biopsy revealed something heartbreaking. Heuck tested positive for breast cancer.
“I can’t explain it; there were a lot of tears,” said Heuck with a shake of her head.
Her family barely had time to grieve. Her father, who was diagnosed with colon cancer in October of 2012, had fought a grueling fight for months before passing away in August of 2013.
“I felt like everything and every step she took ended up wrong,” said fellow gym teacher Kristy DeBolt solemnly.
The cancer was deemed invasive DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma in Suta). It started inside the milk ducts and grew to surrounding breast tissue. From there it attacked the right lymph nodes under the right arm, and only spread from there. Even though it was only attached to the right breast, Heuck removed both out of personal preference.
“I knew I was strong before…” said Heuck. DeBolt cut in by adding, “But God only gives you what you can handle.”
Only being at Stage Two of breast cancer DCIS, it was necessary to start chemotherapy in March, but luckily she never had to start radiation, which would have taken place every day for 20 minutes over five weeks.
“One of the roughest points was losing my hair but once you go through this, you realize a whole different side to beauty,” said

Seniors Blake Jacobs, Jon Los, Mike Andrews, and Tyler Vasconzez pose with Jennifer Heuck on the bleachers of the stadium (J. Heuck).
Seniors Blake Jacobs, Jon Los, Mike Andrews, and Tyler
Vasconzez pose with Jennifer Heuck on the bleachers of the stadium (J. Heuck).

Heuck with a sigh.

Four months of long days and hard weeks of constant fighting have paid off. Only in June of 2014 will she be deemed cancer free, which comes along with doctor visits every three to six months.
Now Heuck is on a drug called Tamoxifen, an estrogen blocker, which must be taken almost every day for the next 10 years.
“Tamoxifen helps put a stop to breast cancer, but can cause uterine cancer,” said Heuck. “Ironic, isn’t it?”
Actually, with the loss of both of her breasts, the chance of cancer coming back is slim, but is still there, and if it does come back, it would probably show up somewhere like the uterus.
But with all the negative in her life, she manages to pull through every day with a big smile and the great sense of humor that HHS students all know and love.
The entire physical education department has also been there for her every step of the way and support everything and anything she does.
“I’ve lived it, now that I have been through it, I know that you CAN get through it,” said

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