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Arizona Cardinals' Jay Feely and Jeremy Bridges honor Desert Vista school nurse Jean Kennedy(middle) and other breast cancer survivors during an assembly to show off the football team's new pink uniforms . The NFL Network chose Desert Vista High School to host this PINK OUT game to bring awareness to breast cancer .Sept 12 , 2011 Darryl Webb/AFN

Darryl Webb

Breast cancer survivor Jean Kennedy knew the road after diagnosis was going to be a rough one, filled with ups and downs.

Kennedy is the only school nurse on campus at Desert Vista High School. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago, she knew she wanted to stay at her job as long as she could. Even into her chemotherapy sessions, she would continue to go in and the response from her colleagues and the student body was nothing but supportive.

"I prefer to be here rather than have someone fill in," Kennedy said. "Everyone has been super supportive and that has kept me strong. People donated days off to me so I didn't have to worry about that."

She was selected as one of four breast cancer survivors associated with Desert Vista to join the Arizona Cardinals on field before their game against the New York Giants on Sunday, Oct. 2.

"We were able to go out at halftime and spread out the big pink ribbon for breast cancer on the field so that was really cool," Kennedy said. "I'm a huge football fan, and it was a great experience to be out there with other breast cancer survivors."

In December 2010, two months after she had been diagnosed, Kennedy had surgery and went through chemotherapy sessions from December to April. After that, she started radiation treatment and got another lift up from her "family" at Desert Vista.

"Different clubs and activities put money together for medical co-pays for my radiation treatments," Kennedy said. "I was so deeply touched that so many people cared. They have been a strong family for me."

She has participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure for the past 10 years with her daughter, as part of the National Charity League for their community service.

"It has been inspirational, and I will continue to be a part of it," Kennedy said.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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