Community rallies behind longtime teacher battling Breast Cancer

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CORNELL, Wis. -- It's a color that has been everywhere on February 14th. But in Cornell, pink has much deeper meaning going beyond Valentine's Day.

Teachers, students and community members in the Cornell School District have been buying pink shirts all week - and wore them at Friday's double header basketball game.

It is a showing of support for long-time teacher, Caroline Hickethier, now battling Stage Two Breast Cancer. It carries emotional and financial components - proceeds from the sales will help pay her medical bills.

"I'm currently undergoing therapy, have eight Chemotherapy sessions, and then I'll have surgery and radiation," Hickethier said.

Hickethier says she broke down when she heard about the shirts idea. More than 250 have been sold so far.

But that show of support does not surprise her students.

"I'm not very surprised because she's been here so long and people know her and love her," said Alexis McGinn, a Cornell student.

"It's really cool seeing everyone support her because she's been here for so long, she's like everyone's family," said Abbie Pickerign, a Cornell student.

Hickethier has been teaching for 26 years and some of the adults in the bleachers at the game were former students.

That includes Bowe who is now a teacher in Cornell.

"She was my English teacher and I graduated from here, and now she is my colleague," Bowe said.

"Having been a teacher here for 26 years means I know a lot of people in town," Hickethier said.

And this town, these people mean the world to her. It is what she says gotten her through the dark days. People that once relied on her for support are now returning the favor.

"I've just been coming here doing my job not realizing the impact I've had on people, and I don't think they can understand the impact they have had on me with their kindness, caring and concern," she added.

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