Friends rally around preschool teacher with breast cancer | NevadaAppeal.com

Friends rally around preschool teacher with breast cancer

by Susie Vasquez, Appeal Staff Writer

Recently diagnosed with breast cancer, Debbie Campbell has no medical insurance to pay for the required 4-6 week radiation therapy. The 44-year-old child care specialist has worked at Dayton Valley Learning Center for 3-1/2 years

Diagnosed with breast cancer in mid-June, preschool teacher Debbie Campbell now needs $26,000 worth of radiation therapy, but has no insurance.

She does have faith, resolve, and a lot of support from family and friends, who have started a fund-raising campaign on her behalf.

Tammy Pitkin, a regular customer at the Dayton Valley Learning Center where Campbell works, flew into action right after hearing the news, organizing a giant rummage sale and establishing an account for her at Nevada State Bank.

“I’ve known Debbie for three years and from the moment I met her, she’s had a place in my heart,” Pitkin said. “She’s a sweet, caring person. When something like this happens to someone so special, you have to do something.”

A young-looking 44-year-old with strawberry blonde hair and blue eyes, Campbell said she’s a little nervous about everything and overwhelmed by the support.

“I’m not used to this kind of attention. I like being the person on the sidelines,” she said. “For me, it’s a lot easier.”

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Campbell discovered a lump in her left breast in early June through self-examination, but a mammogram shortly after revealed another abnormality in her right breast. Biopsy results showed the lump in her left breast was normal and the right breast, malignant.

The tumor was removed, but the remaining margin contains cancerous cells, which should be eradicated by the radiation therapy.

“My doctor said I have a 15 percent chance of getting an active cancer without the treatment,” she said. “But he’s confident that radiation therapy will eliminate the problem.”

Campbell and her husband, Mike, have handled the medical costs to date by borrowing money.

The couple tried to get health insurance in the past, but they’ve slipped through the cracks. Mike Campbell, a mechanic, has serious back problems and pays $800 monthly for medications. He’s considered “uninsurable,” according to Debbie. The Learning Center where she works full-time can’t afford the premiums, according to owner Sue Joyner.

“We’ve tried to get insurance for our employees a number of times,” Joyner said. “But it’s so expensive, my employees wouldn’t have much to take home. They opted for the salary.”

The garage sale will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Dayton Valley Learning Center, 357 Dayton Valley Road, in Dayton and an account has been established at the Nevada State Bank, number 0538011933.

Checks can be submitted at any bank.

IF YOU GO

What: Garage sale to benefit Debbie Campbell

When: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 24

Where: Dayton Valley Learning Center, 357 Dayton Valley Road, in Dayton

YOU CAN HELP

An account has been established at the Nevada State Bank, number 0538011933.