Greencastle-Antrim teacher points to hope at Relay for Life

Kim Muller, center, Relay for Life guest speaker, chatted with friends Harry and Sharon Hykes. Muller is being undergoing treatment for breast cancer, the disease Sharon Hykes beat 14 years ago. Said Harry Hykes of Muller, "She's really a brave kid."

Five times Kim Muller has been diagnosed with cancer. The first time was in May 2002, when she was 36 years old. Her boys, Jake and Josh, were in elementary school in Mercersburg. She and her husband Carl were ready to close on a house. Muller was teaching at Greencastle-Antrim High School.

They proceeded with their plans, Muller told the crowd at opening ceremonies for Greencastle Relay for Life on May 15. She was the featured speaker for the annual 24-hour fundraising event for the American Cancer Society.

“When bad things happen, you can let them define you, destroy you or strengthen you,” she said. She chose the latter.

Muller is now in Stage 4 breast cancer. She has also had hip and leg cancer, requiring a hip replacement. She has undergone chemotherapy, radiation, surgeries and experimental trials. She has experienced pain, fatigue and living in a fog. Throughout it all, strong support came from her family and friends. Currently a wellness teacher at the middle school, her co-workers have been at her side.

“Cancer doesn't care who you are when it decides to invade a body,” Muller said. “The important thing is we all have hope.”

Her health was stable for a couple years, until Easter 2015, and then “the beast reared its ugly head again.” Now a chemo patient, Muller's hair is growing back, and dyed yellow and blue, the school colors.

“It's not a side effect,” she joked.

Cancer also touched Muller through loved ones. Her own parents were role models as her mother battled breast cancer for 21 years, and her father had carcinoma for one month. But they did not complain, and were always busy and helpful to those around them. Both died in 2004.

She clings to the positive.

Muller concluded her talk, “None of us knows how long we have on this earth.

Live life to the fullest. Hope whispers 'try it one more time.' I want to make the rest of my life the best of my life.”