Spanish teacher Eileen Kiser fights with hope after her daughter survived a life-threatening cancer diagnosis

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Spanish teacher Eileen Kiser fights with hope after her daughter survived a life-threatening cancer diagnosis

Covered in whipped cream, Spanish teacher Eileen Kiser hugs sophomore Zoe DeYoung in the cafeteria. Kiser braced for impact before DeYoung pied her to raise money for Friends of Kids with Cancer. “Mrs. Kiser and I have a really close relationship, and we were both really hoping that my name would be drawn so I could pie her. When my name was drawn, we immediately looked for each other, and we were so surprised,” DeYoung said.

Covered in whipped cream, Spanish teacher Eileen Kiser hugs sophomore Zoe DeYoung in the cafeteria. Kiser braced for impact before DeYoung pied her to raise money for Friends of Kids with Cancer. “Mrs. Kiser and I have a really close relationship, and we were both really hoping that my name would be drawn so I could pie her. When my name was drawn, we immediately looked for each other, and we were so surprised,” DeYoung said.

Kayla Ruether

Covered in whipped cream, Spanish teacher Eileen Kiser hugs sophomore Zoe DeYoung in the cafeteria. Kiser braced for impact before DeYoung pied her to raise money for Friends of Kids with Cancer. “Mrs. Kiser and I have a really close relationship, and we were both really hoping that my name would be drawn so I could pie her. When my name was drawn, we immediately looked for each other, and we were so surprised,” DeYoung said.

Kayla Ruether

Kayla Ruether

Covered in whipped cream, Spanish teacher Eileen Kiser hugs sophomore Zoe DeYoung in the cafeteria. Kiser braced for impact before DeYoung pied her to raise money for Friends of Kids with Cancer. “Mrs. Kiser and I have a really close relationship, and we were both really hoping that my name would be drawn so I could pie her. When my name was drawn, we immediately looked for each other, and we were so surprised,” DeYoung said.

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Putting on her goggles before getting pied in the face, Spanish teacher Eileen Kiser’s goal is to help raise money for Friends of Kids with Cancer. Kiser’s passion for helping kids with cancer stems from her personal journey with her daughter who was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of three.

“We went to the pediatrician on Christmas Eve of 1990, and the pediatrician noticed some blue around her mouth. We had to go get her blood checked, and sure enough, that’s exactly what was going on. There was something really wrong; it turned out that she had a very aggressive form of Leukemia,” Kiser said.

Kiser cleared her head and became ready to accept the challenges she was going to face.

“At first, I couldn’t believe it. I thought “this can not be happening to me.” I wasn’t immediately angry, and I went into a battle mode of ‘ok what do we have to do? What’s the plan?’ It helped me stay strong because the numbers were not very good,” Kiser said.

When Kiser faced the decision of whether or not to treat her daughter with chemotherapy, knowing that there could be long term consequences to her health, she found the decision simple.

“It was, ‘where do I sign right now?’ without those chemotherapy medicines, she would have died. If I had a do-over, I’d do the same thing,” Kiser said.

With her daughter having a low chance of survival, Kiser held on to a quote that kept her believing.

“I remember reading a book by Bernie Siegel and the quote that really stuck in my brain was, ‘in the face of uncertainty, there’s nothing wrong with hope.’ There was a 20% chance she would beat it, so I just held on to that 20%,” Kiser said. “We followed what the doctor said, and she beat it.”

Other members of Kiser’s family have also battled cancer and won.

“I understand how hard it is for families to go through having a child with a life-threatening illness, so anything I could do to support them I would. I would take 10 pies [to the face] if I could,” Kiser said.

Despite her full-time job and family, Kiser will continue to participate in as many fundraisers and cancer awareness activities as she can and pushes others to do so as well.

“I don’t have time right now to volunteer, but once I retire that would be something to look forward to,” Kiser said. “When I see people contributing to anything that supports Friends of Kids with Cancer, whether it’s Hats on Day or teachers getting pied, it makes my heart feel really good.”

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