Hartfield students are closing out the month of October with an especially meaningful fundraiser in support of local breast cancer patients and survivors. All week long from October 23rd to October 30th, we have accepted voluntary donations that will go directly towards "The Fund for the Girls," a local charity that works in partnership with Baptist Medical Center. The week was kicked off with "Pink Day," when students were encouraged to wear pink to kick off the fundraiser in solidarity with breast cancer victims and survivors.
For Courtney Anders, supporting breast cancer causes has always been a priority. Through efforts led by Hartfield Academy and other groups she was involved with in the past, Courtney and her twin sister both shared an interest in breast cancer research fundraising.
"This cause took on a whole new a reality for us when my sister was diagnosed with Stage 3B Breast Cancer at the age of 28 in 2016," Courtney shares. She continues, "After aggressive chemo, radiation, and multiple surgeries, she was in remission. This past December, we found out the cancer had returned and it was everywhere. There was hope that the cancer was improving, but in May we learned that the cancer had spread to her brain, bones, liver, and other organs. Through her difficult journey with this terrible disease, it has made me more a ware of the increased research needed to find a cure. Therefore, it is important to me to find ways to support finding a cure, raising awareness, and ultimately supporting ways for every woman to get treatment." Courtney's personal experience with the effects of this disease is what inspired her to connect Hartfield Academy with The Fund for the Girls.
A major theme that was easily spotted throughout the halls on Pink Day was the overwhelming support for Hartfield's own breast cancer survivors. Didi Williams (6th grade instructor) and Jill Johnson (3rd grade teacher) are undoubtably bright spots of joy and Godly teaching in the Hartfield family, their stories of strength and faith in the face of immense hardship always reminding us of what God can do through His people.
"'Pink Day' means something different for me in 2020 than it did in 2016 when I was diagnosed in August of that year. October came way too soon that year," said Didi. "Pink was just a reminder of the battle I was fighting, and honestly it stirred up fear and sadness. I tried to 'avoid' pink that whole month. Today, pink is a symbol of survival to me. I was filled with joy to see Hartfield students wearing pink in my honor. I received blessing after blessing that day!"
For Jill Johnson, "Pink Day" was a reminder that she is not alone. "Seeing all the pink from the students and staff on both campuses made my heart full. The love was overflowing! I couldn’t stop smiling. Every where I looked I saw PINK! It was confirmation that I’m exactly where God wants me to be to grow his Kingdom. I’m honored that my family is apart of this special community."
Mrs. Johnson also had a wise word to share:
"Chances are, it is not IF, but WHEN your life will be effected by something like this. It may not be you, it may be a loved one close to you, but it will happen. I was always told that I would go through 'seasons' in life. I know for many believers we have these seasons where we feel closest to God, and some we feel further away. It's easy to try to do it all yourself, and maybe not depend on God when everything is going your way. Most of us know that it is in the darkest times when we have nowhere to look but up, that we truly find ourselves closest to Him.
Every six month check up I have that sick feeling, but then I feel that tight squeeze and I'm reminded God is in control. Every day that I am cancer-free is a win! I’m thankful I get to share my story with others."
The Pink Day fundraiser will conclude on Friday, October 30th. Hartfield is proud to do our part in the fight to cure breast cancer. Thank you to Didi and Jill, as well as the many lives who have been affected by this disease, for bravely sharing your stories. Let's end breast cancer together!
Hartfield Academy is fully accredited by both the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the MidSouth Association of Independent Schools (MAIS), the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and the Southern Association of independent Schools (SAIS).