Faces of survival: Glenda Collingsworth

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"You have to decide to persevere."

"My husband and child gave me (this bear) when I went in the hospital. Any time I had to have surgery I'd bring the bear with me," Glenda Collingsworth said.  Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
"My husband and child gave me (this bear) when I went in the hospital. Any time I had to have surgery I'd bring the bear with me," Glenda Collingsworth said.

Glenda Collingsworth

Her background

AGE: 41

FAMILY: Husband Tim; son Thomas, 8; mother, Elfriede Lawrence; brother, Lester; sisters Barbara and Linda

OCCUPATION: Principal, Pine Hill Middle School

DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT: March 10, 2009; mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation


Collingsworth found a lump during a routine self-exam two weeks after her mammogram came back clear.

She had always had to have repeat mammograms, but she never expected to have cancer.

The school year was drawing to a close, and she had just been named principal of the new Pine Hill Middle School, which opened in fall 2009.

"I had to hire a whole new staff and open a school," she said. "I was fearful about tackling (the new job)."

Focusing on the new job, completing her doctorate (she was already enrolled in classes) and maintaining a sense of normalcy kept her going through her treatments.

Her family also kept her strong. Her husband and son gave her a teddy bear she took into surgery with her. It recites the prayer "Now I lay me down to sleep."

"I have a little one. He's 8 years old," Collingsworth said. "I want to be alive to see him grow. I want to do whatever is necessary to make sure I'm here."


"Initially, when you're diagnosed with cancer, you're scared," she said. "You want to quit. You automatically think death. But you can't quit."

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Comments (3) Add comment
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Taylor B
Taylor B 10/16/10 - 06:58 pm
Mrs. Collingsworth is a great

Mrs. Collingsworth is a great principal, and truly loves her students. I worked with her in the PTSA for Pine Hill, and she never showed any signs of the cancer getting to her. I didn't even know it. She's one strong lady! We love you, Mrs. Collingsworth!

rebellious 10/17/10 - 02:12 pm
Mrs. Collingsworth is a class

Mrs. Collingsworth is a class act all the way. In her personal life as well as her professional life. She epitomizes the positive attitude needed when facing challenges. Go gurl!!!

cjack912 10/19/10 - 12:27 pm
Mrs. Collingsworth is a not

Mrs. Collingsworth is a not only a survivor of brest cancer, but one of many other milestones. A friend told me on yesterday that someone asked her what makes Mrs. Collingsworth so great? To that friend, I would have said, " she attempts everything with the attitude, I can do this and she does it without putting others down or making them feel inferior". She was the principal of Diamond Lakes where their motto is"A Cut Above The Rest". She is definitely a gem and she has earned the respect from many as well as the title of A Cut Above The Rest.

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