Northampton Press

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PRESS PHOTO BY STACEY KOCH Northampton resident and Northampton Area High School teacher Kim Davis stands in front of green balloons, the color that represents awareness for non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. PRESS PHOTO BY STACEY KOCH Northampton resident and Northampton Area High School teacher Kim Davis stands in front of green balloons, the color that represents awareness for non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

NAHS teacher battles non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma with help of school

Thursday, March 5, 2015 by STACEY KOCH Special to The Press in Local News

Hearing the word "cancer" from one's doctor is often a terrifying experience.

Kim Davis, a health and sports medicine teacher at Northampton Area High School, had such an experience the summer before last.

Davis was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in August of 2014.

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma is a type of cancer that starts in the lymphoid nodes and other lymphoid tissues.

Around two weeks after Davis was diagnosed, he started chemotherapy. Davis has one more chemotherapy session remaining. Currently, his doctors are unable to locate any cancer.

"You have to stay positive," Davis said. "It's 90 percent treatable and 80 percent remissionable."

One of the biggest challenges Davis faces is exhaustion.

"I feel tired. That's the biggest one. And as the treatments progress, I feel a little more tired after each one," Davis said.

Davis has a big support group of family and friends. He also has a big support group behind him at work.

"Everybody that I have to work with here at school has been nothing but excellent and supportive," he said. "The administration has been supportive. I have a prep eighth period. If I need to go home because I don't feel well or am tired, they let me do that, but I think I've done it once. I can sit at home and mope or I can do my job. And I love my job."

Davis has been teaching at NAHS for 27 years.

The administration, teachers and students have been very supportive of Davis and his battle with Lymphoma. In fact, they held a Streak Challenge fundraiser at the school Feb. 10 in honor of Davis and others facing Lymphoma.

More than 1,000 people walked through the doors of the school, Davis said. Some of the highlights of the event were music by The Bryant Brothers Band, a bake sale, arts and crafts tables and family-friendly activities.

For the streaking part of the fundraiser, those who wished to streak their hair could buy a lime green streak. The price was $10 for students and $15 for adults.

Asking that the total amount of funds raised not be printed, Davis just said, "a very generous amount of money" will be donated to the Pediatric Lymphoma Cancer Unit of Lehigh Valley Hospital.

The Dakota Galusha Memorial Fund also contributed to the fundraiser. Dakota was a student at Northampton Area Middle School who was a hit and killed by a bus in 2009.

When asked what it meant to him to work for a school that cares about its teachers so much, Davis said he was filled with emotion.

"Well ... if I said 'good,' it would be an understatement," he said. "You don't realize until you get sick. You don't realize."

Although Davis is hopeful, in terms of his battle with Lymphoma, that doesn't mean he did not initially experience fear.

"When I got the diagnosis, the doctor said, 'You're pretty calm.' And I said, 'That's on the outside.'"

Even now, Davis is still scared about dealing with Lymphoma and what the future holds.

"It gives you a real quick perception on your mortality," he said. "And I was not that type of person to begin with. Like you kind of make sure your will is OK; are your insurances adjusted; are your kids set up if something goes wrong; is your family going to be OK if something happens. You do a quick mortality check, and then you come back and say, 'OK.'

"But I've been through a lot in my life, a lot of struggles," Davis added. "This is just another one."

Those who still wish to make a donation toward this cause can contact Linda Deurer at the high school at 610-262-7812 ext. 1182.