Art Teacher’s Community Rallies Together After Cancer Diagnosis

Reviewed by Mary McLaughlin, Ma-TESOL; M.S. SpEd

When it comes to cancer, it is hard not to associate the disease with the terrible destruction that it wreaks on the body, families, and entire communities. However, in the case of Kim Brigham, an art teacher and track coach at Wahoo High School in Wahoo, Nebraska, her cancer experience has turned out to be inspiring.

Diagnosed in January, the 45 year old Brigham was devastated. Determined to not let the cancer hurt their family, Kim and her husband Rob Brigham quickly began the treatment process, flying to Duke every other month. They have since made every effort to not allow the disease to keep their 5 children from experiencing life to the fullest.

The people of Wahoo have stuck with them every step of the way. Starting with Brigham’s coworkers at Wahoo High School, where a fellow teacher made the slogan “Kim Possible” featured on everything from hashtags to T-shirts, there has been an outpouring of support from people across the town.

Since the diagnosis, the community has made and sold gray ribbons to help spread awareness and raise funds to help pay for the Kim’s flights and medical treatments. In June, they chose to take Kim’s passion for running and her love of the arts and art education and combine the two into one event. A color run, a 5k where participants wear white shirts and bombard each other with colored dyes and paints, was hosted to raise even more funds and awareness, and Kim and her family all participated.

Wahoo has continued to provide a regular flow of meals, gas and gift cards, paid for hospital visits, and kept the Brigham family in their thoughts and prayers. All their support has apparently paid off too.

Brigham is still undergoing treatment, but intends to return to school to teach full time in the fall. Hopefully, the community will still be trying to keep up with their running art teacher for many years to come.