Carlton supports teacher with ovarian cancer

Jodi Schellenberg
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A sea of teal swarmed the steps of Carlton High School during the lunch hour on Thursday.

Staff at Carlton Comprehensive High School all wore teal on Thursday for World Ovarian Cancer Awareness Day and to support teacher Marilyn Young, who is currently battling the disease.

Carlton staff gathered at the front entrance of the school, all wearing teal in support of teacher Marilyn Young and World Ovarian Cancer Awareness Day.

“We have been involved in this day for a few years and realistically became involved when one of our really close friends and teacher (was diagnosed with) ovarian cancer,” principal Dawn Kilmer sad. “That is what family does is support. Family sticks together and we are one huge family here at our school.

Young was diagnosed with ovarian cancer on October 31, 2011. She was teaching a class when she started getting stomach cramps. After someone took over her class, Young’s husband took her to the hospital.

While in the hospital, they found a cyst on her ovary. When the doctors sent it for tests, they determined she had ovarian cancer.

“From there I have had several surgeries and two rounds of chemo treatments,” Young said. “It has been a long journey.”

Young said the support from her Carlton family has helped her through the journey.

“That is the reason I am getting through this like I am,” she said. “School brings me back.

“My doctor says there are no patients that he deals with that are working and I said, ‘What? How can they not?’ I have to,” Young added. “I truly believe if I sat at home I’d be sick and I don’t think I’m sick.”

Since being diagnosed with cancer, Young has kept her positive attitude, even joking with the doctors.

“I keep telling the doctors I haven’t seen any of the stuff you have taken out of me that says I’m sick and I don’t know if I should believe you because I wake up and I’m not sick,” she smiled. “Mind over matter.”

Those who work with Young at Carlton have also noticed her positive attitude.

“We love her and she loves us and that’s what we do,” Kilmer said. “We take every day as a great day and that is what Marilyn brings to us. See how bright and cherry she is all the time?”

Kilmer said their student body and staff are all amazing supporters.

“School isn’t just about learning about things -- school is learning about people,” Kilmer said. “We are really so fortunate to have such strong individuals.

“Life does throw you some really big curves, but you have a choice -- you have a choice of reaction,” she added. “Marilyn and people like Marilyn and our kids teach us each and every day to chose happiness and positivity. That carries us forward. That is what family does.”

Ovarian cancer is considered the disease that whispers, since there is no early detection test available.

Some of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer are bloating, pelvic discomfort, back or abdominal pain, fatigue, gas, nausea, indigestion, change in bowel habits, emptying bladder frequently and menstrual irregularities.

They are very mild and many women may not think of going to the doctor for symptoms such as bloating or cramping.

Those concerned about the disease can ask their doctor for a complete pelvic exam, a CA-125 blood test and a transvaginal or pelvic ultrasound.

“It is important for our moms and sister to pay attention to our bodies, listen and go and get checked,” Kilmer said. “Early intervention is the key.”

For more information about ovarian cancer, visit

Geographic location: CA

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