Someone You Should Know: Juanita Kimpston - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Someone You Should Know: Juanita Kimpston

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WATERLOO (KWWL) - The halls of Fred Becker Elementary in Waterloo are pink.

There are hand-made decorations, and teachers wearing ribbons. It's all to support kindergarten teacher Juanita Kimpston.

"I just went in for my annual in July, and they thought they saw something abnormal," Kimpston said. "They took a biopsy and it came back that I had cancer."

Breast cancer, it turned out. Inspired by her students, Kimpston said she had only one option -- to fight it.

"She is completely committed to loving these kids," Principal Melissa Steggall said. "You can see it in the way she talks to them, her relationships with them, her commitment to their learning and her professional growth despite her going through her own personal circumstances."

Kindergartener Tyra Adams agrees.

"I love her!" she said. "I wanted her to come back."

And Kimpston wanted to get back too.

Even as she booked surgery for a double mastectomy, Kimpston's focus was on her 5- and 6-year-old students back at Becker.

"Of course my surgery had to be the first day of school - and I didn't want to miss that," she said.

All of the students and staff at Becker rallied behind Kimpston to support her fight. But her biggest inspiration, she said, came from her father who recently died.

"I had a dream, and he said he wasn't ready to see me yet," Kimpston said. "He wanted me to keep fighting, and he told me that I could win. And I did."

Juanita Kimpston said she's a survivor -- and she couldn't have done it without her kids.

"If it was not for my Becker family, I would not have survived," she said.
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