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Johnsburg teacher fighting colon cancer

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Photo by Kyle Grillot – kgrillot@shawmedia.com Initially, Cheryl Trione had planned on 12 cycles of chemotherapy, and then to have tests done after those cycles. That number will reach 13 with a chance of more. Trione watches as registered nurse Laura Pieters prepares equipment to begin her eighth cycle of chemotherapy at the Burlington, Wis., cancer clinic. The Johnsburg High School science teacher began chemotherapy in May and each cycle contains alternating chemotherapy and recovery weeks.

Last fall Cheryl Trione, a Johnsburg High School science teacher, was helping students through another school year.

This year she’s fighting colon cancer, coping with fall semester without students and trying to figure out how she can afford a long-term illness.

“Not only is it a lifelong illness, this is going to be a lifelong payment of some kind,” Trione said.

Trione has been a teacher at Johnsburg for the past 27 years.

“It’s home,” she said.

Sue Feely, a math teacher at Johnsburg High School, and Ashley Rupp, a 20-year-old neighbor, have organized a benefit for Trione and arranged care at her Burlington, Wis., home.

“She has inspired students her whole life,” Feely said.

It started out as just stomach pains.

On Feb. 14, Cheryl Trione was doing parent-teacher conferences, giving evaluations and preparing for a long weekend.

A week later, after emergency room visits, multiple scans and surgery, she received the diagnosis of colon cancer.

As she was wheeled out of recovery and into the intensive care unit, “I took one look at my mom’s face, and I knew,” Trione said.

Two surgeries later, Trione was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer that has metastasized to her liver.

“Everyone knows her; she’s made a really big impact on a lot of people’s lives here,” former student Hannah Dschida said.

Dschida, a Johnsburg High School junior, was one of 18 students involved in DECA, which made 195 scarves to sell and collected donations to raise $1,679 for Trione’s medical expenses.

Trione began chemotherapy in May and is in her 10th cycle of treatment, with more possible. After her sick days run out, she will lose her income.

“Cheryl has worked her whole life helping and serving others, it is time she gets some of that back,” Feely said.

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