Featured Donor: Pemberton Township High School and History Teacher Theresa Harris

Every Wednesday this October, the faculty at Pemberton Township High School pulled on their pink T-shirts and dropped a few dollars into the jar in the school office to help fight breast cancer.

In years past, they donated the money they collected to a national breast cancer organization, but this year they decided to donate closer to home and support MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper.

“We wanted to give back locally and to support care that helps us and our community,” said history teacher and organizer Theresa Harris. “By giving to MD Anderson Cooper maybe more people will benefit.”

Theresa also has a personal connection to MD Anderson Cooper.

It’s where her sister was treated after a routine mammogram revealed she had breast cancer, and it’s where Theresa herself is now receiving care to help reduce her risk for developing the disease.

Breast cancer runs in Theresa’s family. It claimed the life of her mother.

However, under the care of Dr. Generosa Grana, Director of MD Anderson Cooper, Theresa is taking the drug Evista, which has been approved by the FDA to prevent invasive forms of breast cancer.

For Theresa, the medicine will cut her risk in half.

“At MD Anderson Cooper, they are committed to reducing risk,” said Theresa. “They are proactive in everything. It’s been such a great experience, which is why I wanted to donate.”

The entire school community came together to support the cause, including the graphic arts department, which designed the T-shirts and the school store, which sold the T-shirts and donated half the proceeds.

The faculty collectively raised $500, which was then matched by an individual teacher who donated in memory of her grandmother whom she lost to cancer.

“We have had a number of teachers who had breast cancer,” Theresa said. “And everybody knows somebody.”

If your school, business or community organization is interested in joining the fight against cancer and supporting MD Anderson Cooper, please contact Tara Elk with The Cooper Foundation at elk-tara@cooperhealth.edu or 856.342.2222.

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