CONQUERING CANCER: Junior high teacher’s faith helps in battle with disease

Jasmine Bonner teaching her English class.

Jasmine Bonner teaching her English class.

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It was a long, difficult summer for Norman Junior High eighth-grade teacher Jasmine Bonner.  After being diagnosed with a devastating illness, she went through several rounds of chemotherapy which involved traveling to Houston every week. Because of the treatment, her hair began to fall out. It was difficult for her to do her everyday routine, and fatigue and weakness were some of her toughest side effects. Despite the situation, her faith got her through it.

Bonner was diagnosed with a rare cancer this summer called leiomyosarcoma (LMS), an extremely rare cancer that forms in the soft tissue. Sarcomas (malignant tumors) are rare, so there are not many treatments.

Bonner kept leiomyosarcoma quiet until many students started to find out and began to worry, and posted on Instagram addressing the issue. She had surgery to have it removed, but LMS has a 70 percent recurrence rate. She is still having to go through chemotherapy to make sure it does not come back.

“I’m not the kind of teacher who sits behind the desk and talks at students, but because the chemo has affected me physically, I find that I must sit down more often while teaching,” says Bonner. “I also can’t spend as much time before and after school as I am accustomed to because I just don’t have the energy.”

Bonner has worked for the school district for five years now, so students felt very touched when they heard about the news. She is married to Pressly Bonner and her son Aaron is a junior at KHS.

When students found out she was sick, many were heartbroken and concerned.

“She fueled my passion for English, I hate that crappy things happen to good people,” junior Avery Browning says.

Bonnor isn’t undergoing chemo anymore, but still travels to Houston for checkups to make sure everything is going smoothly.

I’m doing great now, my hair is growing back and the physical effects of chemo are starting to fade,” she says. “My energy and muscle strength are slowly coming back.”

Bonner is now on her way to a full recovery.

“Things are sometimes challenging because there are a few lasting effects of chemo, like lingering joint pain, fatigue, and weak fingernails, but overall things are feeling back to normal,” she says.

Throughout the ordeal, students and staff who wanted to support Bonner wore T-shirts with her a Bible verse meant to help her get through it. The verse is from Hebrews 6:19 and sums her outlook during this time: Hope anchors the soul.”

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