The Nugget

Knocking Out Cancer

One of Our Very own Teachers Shows His Awareness

Becky deMontigny, Head Writer

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As we go through the month of October, everything becomes pink. This is because it is Breast Cancer Awareness month, which is an annual campaign to raise awareness of breast cancer risks, and the value of screening. Within this month doctors also present treatment options available to women and men who are diagnosed with one of the many forms of breast cancer. Forms of the cancer include ductal carcinoma, lobular carcinoma, and sarcoma. More than 249,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with one of these forms each year; but morosely, nearly 41,000 of those diagnosed die from the disease. One of the main symbols of cancer awareness is the infamous loop of pink ribbon. Today, this image can be found on thousands of products to bring awareness. However, there are many more ways to present cancer awareness than wearing and displaying these pink products. A great example of this would be shaving your head, just like Helena High’s very own welding teacher; Jason Hartwick.

Mr. Hartwick did not do this for breast cancer, but actually for a family member’s case of Lymphoma. His significant other’s sister-in-law, Connie Mack, was diagnosed with this form of blood cell cancer this past June. Since then, Mack has undergone four rounds of intense chemotherapy. Hartwick describes Connie as, “the sweetest and most genuine strong-willed person,” he has ever met. This ‘strong will’ also shows in her field of work. Connie has ran her own daycare in Bozeman for twenty years in the recent past. Though three years ago her and her husband relocated to Colstrip, where she now continues work half time at a child care center. Mack’s family says she, “has a [special] way of connecting with children and adults alike.” Which saddens Mack and her family that she cannot put her full time into this strong passion currently.

To help pay for Connie’s expenses of doctor visits and treatments her family-friends put on a benefit. Which included many silent auction items to raise money. Mr. Hartwick and his girlfriend were saddened that they could not contribute to this auction. The two attempted to call in bids for the auction items, but decided it may be better to let the local people of Colstrip bid instead. Hartwick still wanted to find a way to help Connie, and therefore he decided to join the Mack family in bidding on Connie’s husbands hair. Soon the entire family began pledging money to get Spiro to shave his head, alike to Connie’s. Hartwick exclaims that, “he wasn’t too wild about the idea in the beginning, but we kept upping the ante until he finally conceded.” But Hartwick wanted to “up the ante” even more, therefore he pledged that if Spiro shaved his head, he would too and raise money for the family in the process. This is overall what inspired Hartwick to support and bring awareness to the cause. In addition, all the money raised will go directly to Connie and Spiro, to keep the family afloat while they add to the costs of Connie’s illness. If you are interested in helping as well, please look into donating to the family by finding Mr. Hartwick in the upcoming weeks!

Hartwick decided to let his own students shave his head, he says, “I figured some kids would want to get even with me for a few of the parking tickets I have written them, and this would be a fun way of revenge!” He is very grateful to those that helped him create his new look, and wants to thank the students and teachers that have so far accumulated $130 to send to the Mack family. It was very important to Hartwick to accomplish this form of cancer awareness, since he strongly believes awareness is an important aspect to finding a cure. Along with many others, Hartwick thinks more can be done for the treatment of cancer, and making people aware of this devastating problem. He is proud that, unlike other places, “our school does a great job of recognizing cancer awareness, and embracing the Think Pink participation.” As Hartwick does his generous do’s, he hopes that everyone realizes, “it is ok to do something silly for a good cause!” He hopes that readers take away that it’s important to be kind and generous to those dealing with difficult situations.

Thank you Mr. Hartwick for everything you do!

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