June Buchanan senior, Bridgett Howard, decided to raise awareness about pancreatic cancer among her peers after losing her mother to the disease nearly two years ago. Bridgett’s mother, Denise Day Howard (former owner of Parkway Inn Restaurant), was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer only a month before passing away on November 25th. Bridgett planned a small assembly as a memorial to her mom and to educate her peers about this devastating illness.
Bridgett purchased purple light sticks and bracelets, which she distributed to her peers. Also, each JBS student was asked to wear purple and to donate two dollars to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. At the end of the day, the students had raised over $200. The assembly began with Bridgett telling the story of her mother’s battle with pancreatic cancer. She shared statistics concerning the number of people diagnosed with this form of cancer, the number of people who have lost their lives to the disease, current treatments, and the overall characteristics of the illness. She talked about her experiences coming to The June Buchanan School during this very difficult time in her life and how thankful she was for her JBS family. Bridgett stated, “I am very glad that the students of JBS have become my extended family. They were supportive of me during the Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Assembly.”
The entire JBS senior class encouraged Bridgett as she revealed her heartache and knowledge with such strong determination and courage. Bridgett shared this moment with fellow classmates who have also lost their parents. Senior Sadie Haigler sang “Let it Be” in remembrance of Bridgett’s mother and her own mother, Kathy Haigler, who passed away of breast cancer a few years ago. Bridgett said, “I hope what we did will bring awareness for pancreatic cancer so someone else doesn’t have to feel the pain I did when I lost my Mama to it.” Dean Amanda Clark stated, “Listening to Bridgett, who had such courage to share her story, will stand out in my mind as one of the most memorable moments at The June Buchanan School. When she said, ‘I wish my mom could have met you guys,’ tears flowed from our eyes. I can’t think of a more touching moment at this school.”