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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                      1/22/2019

                                                                                               (By Lisa Garrett)

PENDLETON --- As a two-year breast cancer survivor, Lynn Bonner has learned how to appreciate every moment in life.

“Having cancer really puts things in perspective,” said Bonner, a Tri-County Technical College associate degree Nursing major who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 33.  She is a BRCA gene carrier with no family history of cancer.  “Initially when I received my diagnosis, I was stunned. But quickly I opted for the double mastectomy and it was the best decision I ever made,” she said. 

In fact, she has come to view it as a blessing, she said. “I don’t get so overburdened now. I used to stress myself out about everything,” said the single, mother of three children, ages 11, 6 and 4. Through her illness, she says she also gained a new family consisting of friends and co-workers who stood by her during her year-long battle.  A 2013 graduate of Tri-County’s Medical Assisting program, Bonner worked as a Certified Medical Assistant for five years until she enrolled again at the College last year.

Upon returning to college at age 35, she was asked to join the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), a national student organization designed to identify and develop students’ leadership skills with real-world applications.

NSLS is the nation's largest leadership honor society, where top students nominated by their colleges come together to identify and achieve their goals.

Tri-County’s chapter focuses on the personal goals of members and how they can achieve them.

Last semester students who achieved GPAs of 2.75 or better and had completed at least 12 credit hours of full- and part-time college work were eligible to apply for membership.  She was among the 18 who completed all of the steps in fall 2018 to be fully inducted into the organization.

She applied for one of the organization’s scholarships --  the Little Leaders Award.  On its website, the National Society of Leadership and Success recognizes that “we all have a “Little Leader” in our lives, be it your child, cousin, sibling or even a family friend, who could benefit from a program which fosters and supports their interests (e.g., academic tutoring, sports classes, foreign language classes, etc.). The Society Little Leaders Award pays for these programs that will help our Little Leaders grow to be well-rounded individuals who make a better world.”

In her application letter, Bonner told her story about being diagnosed with cancer and later undergoing chemotherapy treatment followed by six surgeries in one year.  Throughout the cancer battle, she admired her children’s resilience and endurance.

“My 11-year-old daughter is amazing.  My kids are my leaders. They are my rock and were instrumental in my recovery,” she said.

She learned late last year she was one of five nationwide winners of the Little Leaders Award which carries a $1,200 stipend.

Her two daughters have long wanted to take gymnastics classes but it was too costly.  Last week she enrolled them in classes which begin this month.  “They are so excited. They deserve it.  They have sacrificed so much,” she said.  “This is an amazing gift to give them. They have been my cheerleaders for this whole season of my life. I am now ready to be theirs.”