St. James High staff supports their own through final chemotherapy treatment

News13 Digital First

MURRELLS INLET, SC (WTBW) – Friday marked a major landmark for Kathie Reagan, registrar at St. James High School in Murrells Inlet.

It was her final day of chemotherapy at Tidelands Health Cancer Care Network at Murrells Inlet.

But she wasn’t celebrating the day alone.

Instead, she was joined by family and her coworkers- who she calls her ‘framily’- from the guidance office at the high school.

“My daughters came in and all my friends from work came in,” Reagan remembered. “So I just hid my head and cried because it was overwhelming, the support I’ve gotten.”

She says her team at St. James has been by her side ever since she was first diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer in April.

Reagan has been at work despite battling cancer and cites her coworkers as a critical support system.

“If I didn’t work, I would go bonkers,” she said. “They made me feel comfortable coming in. They supported everything I did. Every step of the way they supported me.”

Reagan was 13 years cancer-free when she discovered the tumor earlier this year. She underwent surgery in May, followed by 16 rounds of chemotherapy.

“It’s crazy to see somebody go through such a life-changing event and be a part of that, school counselor Gray Williams said. “But for them to actually get to the end of their journey and it be a success story. that is something that is lifechanging.”

Brittany Pezzuti, another St. James counselor, agreed Friday was an emotional day for the whole group.

“I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room,” Pezzuti said. “Everyone was just crying and her reaction when she saw us come through was absolutely priceless.”

Other coworkers noted her strength exhibited by working through such a grueling treatment process.

“To see her go through this again was hurtful and sad,” counselor Lauri Wood said. “But she’s a champion. Didn’t miss a beat.”

Medical professionals say having that strong of a support system can go a long way when battling cancer.

“It can be exhausting physically as well as mentally,” Kelly Berl said. She’s a registered nurse at Tidelands Health Cancer Care Network. “You can get through the treatment a little better. They can see the light at the end of the tunnel a little better.”

She added the bell ringing ceremony can brighten the spirits of other patients, as well.

“The whole room, when someone rings that bell,” Berl began through tears. “And I’m getting emotional. The whole room lights up. It’s catchy. It makes everyone feel good.”

As for Reagan, she’s just happy this whole process is behind her.

“Just being myself. Being Kathie Reagan the person, not Kathie Reagan the cancer patient,” she said. “If I can do it, anybody can do it.”

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