JOHNSBURG – Some of the bills from Cheryl Trione’s first surgery in February still haven’t come in.
“This is what scares me,” the Johnsburg High School science teacher and mother of three said.
Trione was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer that has metastasized to her liver. She’s had two surgeries and is halfway through six months of chemotherapy.
At that point, her doctors will evaluate what’s next, and she’ll have to weigh quality of life with quantity of life, she said.
“It’s not considered curable, just considered treatable,” said Trione, adding that she could be looking at long-term healthcare costs and – once she runs out of sick days – losing her income.
That’s why her friends, family and the staff at Johnsburg High School decided to hold a benefit and started a page at GoFundMe.com, a crowd-funding website where people can donate to different projects.
Sue Feely, a math teacher at Johnsburg High School, has been helping organize the benefit and arranged for four or five staff members to go out to Trione’s Burlington, Wis., home to help her while she’s been sick.
Feely’s classroom is four doors down from Trione’s, and they’ve bonded over the years as they dealt with similar personal troubles.
“She’s wonderful,” Feely said. “I don’t know how to say this without crying. She’s just amazing. ... She is the best science teacher we have. She is a very disciplined, very organized person. She has very high expectations for her students, and they meet them. They like that. They flock to her.”
Trione has been at Johnsburg High School for all of her 27 years of teaching.
On the good days, it’s hard not be in the classroom, Trione said, but the bad days remind her that she can’t be there consistently, which isn’t good for the kids.
“When I knew it was their first day, I was like, ‘Ah, I want to be there,’” she said.