Sunday, June 25, 2017 This Week's Paper

What’s Right With Tacoma: Abes show their love for Kits Merryman

Students at Lincoln High School did Tacoma proud by rallying for Tacoma Weekly writer Kathleen Merryman during her battle against breast cancer.

"Kathleen has always been a friend to LHS, the South End and East Side and TPS (Tacoma Public Schools)," said Lincoln Principal Pat Erwin.

About 30 students, teachers and staff members shaved their heads in support of Merryman, who recently started chemotherapy treatments. Among the shaved head bunch was Tacoma City Councilman Marty Campbell. Hundreds more cheered at a school assembly in her honor last Friday. She had no idea what was in the works until she showed up. The event was organized by Lincoln High junior Loren Carrillo.

Leon Mitchell, a 29-year-old who is four years of being cancer free, keynoted the assembly by talking about his struggles during treatment and how it took a community for him to survive chemotherapy, surgeries and radiation. He said he was twice told to prepare for his own death during his treatments by writing a will. He also said that he was told he would likely die in his sleep but he was always tired as he battled the illness and forced himself to stay awake.

β€œI was afraid to go to sleep,” he said. β€œIt took everyone around me to get through cancer.”

The support of family and friends braced him through his cancer fight and the rehabilitation that followed.

Donations raised by students totaled $1,000 for the American Cancer Society.