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Deadly hand of cancer

Shannon Wallace, News Writer

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Sophomore Denzel Bryant has witnessed the devastating effects of cancer as his mother Florinda Bryant sadly lost her battle with the disease in 2015.

It started in 2013 when she was diagnosed with Stage Two stomach cancer.

“[The doctors] didn’t say anything too bad…they said she’d get over it,” Bryant said. “They said she’d be okay.”

Two years later, as she continued her fight, Bryant’s brother passed away in a fatal car accident.
Bryant said his brother swerved to avoid hitting a deer, which resulted in his death and severe injuries to others in the car.

Soon things got even worse. Bryant’s mother got the same cancer diagnosis, but this time it was Stage Four.

“I was hopeful for a while because I thought it was going to be just like the first time,” Bryant said. “But for the last two months, I wasn’t as jubilant and became depressed.”

It was during those two months that Bryant started to notice significant changes within his mother.

“You could kind of tell she was struggling a lot because she changed from being all happy and jolly how she used to be. She was kind of pale and looked pretty fragile,” Bryant said.

On December 25, 2015, Christmas day, Bryant lost his mother to the battle with cancer.

That same year Bryant graduated eighth grade from James Hart.

Since that experience, Bryant says he looks at life differently.

“After [my brother and mother] died I just try to make every minute count,” Denzel said.

Each year students here try to bring awareness towards cancer by participating in numerous service activities, such as St. Baldricks.

Since the organization’s beginning in 1999, numerous places around Illinois have continued to raise awareness for cancer by raising money and shaving their heads.

Psychologist and RTI counselor Marina Brennan is the sponsor of the National Honor Society, which has sponsored the event in the past.

She said she realizes the event is extremely important, especially since most people have a personal connection to deadly illness.

“I think most people do [have a special connection]. I have lost four close relatives to cancer: a grandfather, an aunt, and two uncles,” Brennan said.

Instead of participating in St. Baldricks this year, the National Honors Society participated in a day’s service for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Although the St. Baldricks isn’t going to be at H-F’s campus, Parker Junior High will be holding the event this year.

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Deadly hand of cancer