Skip to main content

High school holds fundraiser to honor teacher, benefit WVU Cancer Institute

Students at Buckhannon-Upshur High School recently raised $16,000 to honor a beloved teacher who is battling breast cancer.

Students at Buckhannon-Upshur High School recently raised $16,000 to honor a beloved teacher who is battling breast cancer.

The funds raised will benefit the Betty Puskar Breast Care Center at the West Virginia University Cancer Institute, where teacher Tappan Squires is currently a patient.

Throughout the month of October, students sold pink shirts and sought support from community partners.

“All I can say is thanks,” said Squires. “It’s from the bottom of my heart. I want to honor all breast cancer survivors and those who did not make it.”

Squires said it’s important to her that the money raised stay within the state of West Virginia.

In addition to raising money, many fellow teachers shaved their heads – three of whom  are women – to support their colleague and friend.

“There have been several faculty members in the past that have suffered from this terrible disease and we currently have one who is in the midst of her fight,” said Mike Gitzen, a Buckhannon-Upshur High School teacher and coach who introduced the program to the school. “It was a way for us to contribute to the national movement but on a smaller scale in our community to do something not only great for Buckhannon-Upshur High School but the community of Upshur County as well and to get out to the rest of West Virginia.”

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among West Virginia women which results in roughly 300 deaths each year.

“Breast cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths among West Virginia women,” said Hannah Hazard-Jenkins, MD, FACS, director of clinical services at the WVU Cancer Institute. “The Betty Puskar Breast Care Center and our oncology team are devoted to lowering the breast cancer burden throughout the state through educational outreach and cutting-edge treatments as we work toward a cure for the disease. It is donations such as this from the high school that allow us to continuously provide exceptional care and treatment to women across West Virginia, and those who travel from surrounding states. As a physician who treats women with breast cancer, community support such as this – monetary and otherwise – is humbling to my colleagues and me. We thank you so much.”

To host an event to support the WVU Cancer Institute or for more information, contact Scarlett Schneider, PhD, senior director of development, at 304-293-7732 or

This gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the non-profit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.

Follow Us

Get social. Connect and Engage.