The clock ran down to zero in the first half of the Gator football team’s final home game of the season in Badger on October 17. Then, Badger High School junior Kennedy Truscinski and Badger teacher Gretchen Lee walked on the field. Truscinski presented a check to Lee, one amounting to $1,809.
Truscinski and Lee embraced in an emotional hug. Lee was crying and her daughter Greta Lee was also crying while standing along the sideline. This emotional moment came about when Truscinski decided to give back to her teacher and FCCLA advisor, Mrs. Lee, after finding out she received a breast cancer diagnosis.
Lee knew Truscinski was heading up this fundraising project for her, but didn’t know just how much funds she and others, including many of those within Gator Nation, raised for her until she received that check. To raise this money, Truscinski had pink t-shirts made with the words, “Tackle Breast Cancer for Mrs. Lee” printed on them and sold them for $15 apiece.
“Mrs. Lee, she does a lot for me and supports me through anything, so I decided that I wanted to return the favor to her,” Truscinski said.
Lee found the moment on the field and the entire project to be a positive one for several reasons and for not just her.
“Being called out on the field and seeing all the pink shirts, it was just humbling, “ Lee said. “… Knowing other people who have cancer and knowing you want to do something for them to help, I think, it’s beneficial both ways. It gave people an opportunity to help, but the amount (of money raised) was staggering.”
Before this moment, of course, came the moment when she found out she had cancer. Lee first heard of her cancer diagnosis the week before this school year started, specifically on August 31, the day of her husband’s first game of the 2018 football season as the Gator Head Football Coach.
She was initially told that she had invasive ductal carcinoma, the most common form of breast cancer, according to hopkinsmedicine.org. She was told to have it treated as soon as possible due to this cancer’s aggressive form.
So far, things have gone “great” for Lee. She had surgery and doctors reported that the cancer was in stage one and that they had found nothing in her lymph nodes. Lee considered these findings as the “first victory.”
The “second victory” came after another test revealed that she was at a “low risk,” meaning she wouldn’t require chemotherapy or radiation, a relief to Lee.
“I’m very thankful about that,” Lee said. “I’ve had the best possible outcomes you could ask for.”
To see the full story, read the November 14 issue of The Tribune in print or online. To watch a YouTube video, courtesy of iNewZ, that highlights the story, click on the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkiOQvdSmTw.