Arlington Teacher Beats Breast Cancer, Uses Experience to Help Other Cancer Patients

Walking around her classroom at Arlington's Shackleford Junior High School, Jade Laswell can't help but smile.

"I feel so blessed to come here every day," said Laswell, who teaches engineering and career technology classes.

It seems there are few moments these days that you won't find Laswell smiling, no matter where she is, and for good reason.

"When you get that diagnosis, you don't know if you're going to be alive in a year," she said. "I have to live in a space of positivity and light."

In September 2016, Laswell went to get her first ever mammogram. And in the blink of an eye, she received life altering news: she had stage one breast cancer.

"It was the absolute hardest thing I've ever gone through," she said.

But the loving wife and mother of four decided then and there that this wasn't how her life was going to end.

"I gave everything to the fight," said Laswell. "I had a bilateral mastectomy and then I did chemo. I gave every single thing I had so that I can be here for the rest of my life."           

It was when she started going to chemotherapy that Laswell had a moment of clarity.  

"If you've ever been inside the waiting room of an oncology unit, it is the most depressing place you've ever been," she said.

Years before she was diagnosed with cancer, Laswell started a non-profit called Craft Hope, collecting handmade items that she would send to people in need across the world.

Feeling the despair inside the oncology unit, Laswell thought Craft Hope ought to do something to help brighten things up. So with the help of her Craft Hope community, she brought dozens of tote bags filled with items like blankets, hats, and coloring books with her to each appointment to give to the other patients.

"It took the focus off me and what I was going though," she said. "And it gave it a little bit of hope to people in there who felt hopeless just like I felt hopeless."

That's something Laswell hasn't lost sight of, even as she celebrates one year being cancer-free.

She just announced that Craft Hope will continue making "chemo totes" and, this time, deliver them to pediatric cancer patients.

"I kind of feel like I'll always have a cancer project going on," said Laswell.

Laswell has put together an Amazon Wish List of items she'd like to include in the tote bags. Anyone who'd like to get involved can send those items to:

Craft Hope
1130 Masquerade Drive
Midlothian, TX 76065

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