Students at a Fort Worth elementary school cheered on a vice principal who has cancer at a pep rally Friday morning.
A sea of pink shirts, hair ribbons and flags greeted Alba Blanco at Versia Williams Elementary School as she made her way to the stage. Students and teachers gave her flowers, donations, inspirational words and a lot of tearful hugs.
"While getting chemotherapy and the rest that I have to go through, I'm going to close my eyes and think of this day and I'm not going to think of anything. It's just like a shot of life," Blanco said.
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She said she appreciates the huge outpouring of support.
"It was a total surprise," she said. "I knew there was love in this place, but they give me so much."
Blanco is the third staff member in recent years to have breast cancer.
"When we found out Alba was going to be fighting breast cancer, we thought, 'This can't be happening again,'" fifth-grade teacher Martha LaChance said. "But hopefully this will be the last one."
Educators and breast cancer survivors Diana Castillo and Karen Britton gave words of encouragement to Blanco, who said the two have been like mentors in her fight.
Britton said that having the love and encouragement of those around you is incredibly important to cancer patients.
"You're reminded when you have people around you that you're really being carried through this that you're not alone," she said.
Blanco said her mother died of breast cancer nine years ago and that she and her sisters knew one of the would eventually have it as well.
"We always said if it happens to us, we'll be ready, but you're never ready. You're never ready," she said.