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Dinner benefit Friday for Sequoia teacher
pic connie-2a
Connie McCormick was a third-grade teacher at Sequoia School until her recent treatments for cancer. She’s currently in chemotherapy with Deanna Soares, right, usually accompanying her on the weekly treatments. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT


• WHAT: American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life kick-off event.
• WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 5, from 6 to 8 p.m.
• WHERE: Manteca High cafeteria, 450 E. Yosemite Ave.
• MORE INFO: Relay for Life is planned for May 2010 with multiple events in the works leading up to the actual relay.
• CONTACT: Mary Jones, Manteca High, (209) 858-7340, ext. 56810.

Connie McCormick is a fighter.

On three previous occasions, the Sequoia School third-grade teacher survived her bouts with cancer.
The first took place in 1977 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. McCormick moved forward with her life after successful chemotherapy and surgery.

Nine years ago, she had uterine cancer and, a year later, ovarian cancer. She bucked the odds once again thanks to radiation treatment and surgery.

About a year ago, Connie McCormick was diagnosed with a metastic form of cancer, with the disease spreading to her bone, liver and other organs.

The prognosis isn’t good as doctors recently gave McCormick one year to live.

But she isn’t buying it.

“I find it beatable,” said McCormick on Tuesday. “I really don’t feel as if this is the end.”

She’s been going to her weekly chemotherapy treatments at Doctor’s Hospital of Manteca often accompanied by Sequoia staff member Deanna Soares.

“We usually talk while I’m going through chemo,” McCormick said.

She needs a couple of days to rebound from those treatments which, she says, makes her “nauseous.”

Connie McCormick has been a teacher for 24 years, and has been with Manteca Unified since 1996.

She began here as a sixth-grade teacher at Lincoln before moving over to Sequoia. This year, McCormick was scheduled to move up with her class as a fourth-grade instructor but was sidelined with her recent health issues.

She misses work, particularly the students and many of her colleagues.

“We miss her so much,” said fellow third-grade teacher Jennifer Regan. “Things don’t run as smoothly around here without Connie.”

And to make matters worse, McCormick just found out that her husband of the past five years, James, a disabled veteran, was diagnosed with a form of skin cancer.

Not to worry, Connie McCormick said. “It’s just another speed bump.”

James is inspired by his wife’s fighting spirit.

“I’m not going (through my battle with cancer) alone,” he said. “I have to stay healthy so I can help her.”

Both rely on Connie’s health insurance from the district. But her job officially comes to an end in January as does her benefits.

A fundraising event for Connie McCormick is planned for Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. at Chez Shari – located at the Manteca Park Golf Course, 305 N. Union Road – with all proceeds being applied to her health benefits.

She’s extremely grateful to the Parent Teacher Partnership at Sequoia School along with Prescott Church for stepping up to sponsor the fundraiser consisting of a half Rosemary chicken served with rigatoni, salad, dinner roll, fountain drink, and dessert from Burgess Bakery.

Cost is $25 per person.

The event will kick off with a no-host bar at 5 with dinner served at 6 o’clock. Included will be door prizes along with a drawing and silent auction.

A money tree will also be available.

In addition, takeout meals will be sold for $18.

Donations may be made to “Connie McCormick” and delivered to Sequoia School.

For more information, call Sequoia School at (209) 858-7440 or Prescott Church at (209) 529-7200.