School rallies to teacher’s aid
Contributed photo, Deanna and her mom Cheryl Roberts smiled for the camera. An event to help raise funds for Cheryl, who is battling cancer, is this Friday night at the Sonoran Science Academy.

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.”

— Anna Eleanor Roosevelt

(Former First Lady of The United States 1933 – 1945)

Many people in the community know Cheryl Roberts, or, as her students call her, Ms. Cheryl, for her hard work, diligence, and charity.

For those who don’t know her or of her of battles with cancer, here’s her story.

Cheryl Roberts has been a dedicated preschool teacher at the Daisy Early Learning Academy, an affiliate of the Sonoran Science Academy in Tucson since 2004. She’s been an educator for over 20 years, teaching basic educational and life skills to young children. Over the years, she has earned the reputation of being a tough yet dedicated educator who strives for excellence in her students. She is also an active member in her church community.

Despite her strong external appearance, Cheryl has fought an ongoing battle with cancer. Cheryl was diagnosed with metastatic ovarian cancer in 2000. It was a battle she thought she overcame after several rounds of chemotherapy and surgery. Because of having had ovarian cancer and having a relative with breast cancer, she too was at high risk for breast cancer. After undergoing several previous normal annual screening mammograms, in August 2006 doctors noted some calcifications in her breast tissue, which were noted to be increasing in size compared to prior years, and therefore they became concerned that she may have breast cancer.

Her surgeon recommended a single mastectomy. Due to the risk of spreading to the other breast, she decided on a bilateral mastectomy, followed by several rounds of radiation treatments. Several months later, Cheryl thought that she was cancer-free. Then, in early 2008, during regular surveillance her doctors noted that the tumor markers for both breast and ovarian cancer were increasing. A CT scan also noted some enlarged lymph nodes, which brought about her second course of chemotherapy.

For those of you who have ever had the unfortunate experience of receiving chemotherapy or know someone who has gone through this process, know that it is one of the worst experiences that one could ever go through in their lives.

During this entire process and with the support of her family, friends, students, and especially with her strong faith in God, Cheryl was able to gradually regain her stamina and fervor that she originally possessed … until recently. During the last few weeks, long after she completed her second course of chemotherapy, Cheryl began having symptoms of dizziness as well as increasing fatigue, which prompted her doctors to eventually order imaging of her brain. When the results returned, her heart sank, this time to depths it had never reached before. She was now diagnosed with having metastasis to the meninges, which is the membrane that lines the brain as well as the entire central nervous system.

We recently visited her at the hospital with her daughter Deanna at her side, on the day of her discharge, and noted that she was in good spirits. She is willing to make that climb back up the mountain again for the third time to fight this cancer with courage, strength and determination.

Cheryl also realizes that there are a lot of uncertainties with this “climb.” She does not feel that she will be able to return to her regular job, but wants to volunteer when she can because she misses and loves the children she teaches. In addition, medical expenses are beginning to pile up, and she may not have a regular income to depend on. This is where we need your help as a community.

Daisy Early Learning Academy and Sonoran Science Academy are hosting a fund raising dinner for Ms. Cheryl this Friday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the Sonoran Science Academy High School gymnasium. It is located at 2325 West Sunset Road, Tucson, 85741. There will be plenty of activities for the family, as well as wonderful entertainment, music, and lots of tasty food.

There is a nominal charge for dinner, but all proceeds go toward Ms. Cheryl’s fight against cancer. Even if you are unable to attend but want to donate or help in some way, or would like to find out more information on this event, please contact Ms. Jennifer or Ms. Pinar at 520-665-3450. You can also email them at or If you plan on attending this event, please RSVP ahead of time, latest by the morning of Friday, April 24.

Most of all, let’s pray for her safe and speedy recovery.

We hope to see you there. Let’s help Ms. Cheryl win this fight!

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