• By: KH
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“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”   – Albert Einstein

Mathematics teacher, Naomi Jonas, is an inspiration to women of all ages with her strong will and courageous attitude. Although dedicated to teaching with a passion, she understands the importance of keeping everything in perspective and uses her ‘downtime’ to enjoy crafting, particularly card-making. This creative hobby has turned into a timely fundraiser for Cancer.

This is Naomi’s story…

Ten years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Life was no longer in my control, as hospital staff and specialists took over and I just had to follow their instructions. This meant taking five months away from my students and role of HOD mathematics at Spotswood College in New Plymouth. As I was a teacher, I was instructed not to go back to work after diagnosis, but to rest up for the two operations and radio-therapy that followed. I spent one night in hospital, and had to travel back and forth to Palmerston North, away from my family for six weeks of treatment. Fortunately I had early stage cancer, which had not spread and I was excused from chemotherapy.

I returned to work late in the year and had the task of trying to help my students catch up in preparation for their NCEA externals – some had done no work, and were waiting for my return! I realised that I had been working way too hard, taking home at least four day’s work every weekend, plus each evening. I made the decision that quality of life was more important than quantity and decided to step down as HOD. To ensure that I did not spend all of my time working, I decided to create cross-stitched birthday cards for the 33 students who were in my Form class. These ranged from cats and flowers to tractors and a motorbike. This is how my hobby of card making began – and last year, I gave each of my Form students at Green Bay High School a personalised Birthday card.

Now I use a huge range of techniques to create cards for all occasions. Principal, Morag Hutchinson, gave me permission to sell cards to the staff at Green Bay High School as a fundraiser for cancer research. These cards sell for $3 – $5 each, although some people have given more. All proceeds go towards cancer research, such as Pink Ribbon or Canteen.

I would encourage everyone to have regular checks, as early detection gives you a better chance of survival. Cancer seems to strike at random, to people of any age, health or circumstance. Seeking medical advice, knowing when you are not well, and seeking a second opinion if needed are vital to the importance of early detection.

Did you read about other staff members and students who are going to Shave for a Cure on Tuesday next week, as part of a fundraiser for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer? Click here to help with their fundraising efforts! Be sure to check out their ‘before and after’ photos in our next e-newsletter!