Hirsch takes on ovarian cancer with positive spirit

Amanda Young

By Amanda Young, ’11, News Section Editor

For CCDS Athletic Director Theresa Hirschauer, fondly known as “Hirsch,” ovarian cancer is just another challenge to be overcome with strong character, openness, and optimism.

“She’s just a model. She has shown to the community that the spirit that she has can face and overcome challenges that most people can’t even imagine, let alone handle in the span of a few months,” said English Department Head Patricia Dunn.

“Theresa Hirschauer is champion,” said Head of School Dr. Rob Macrae .

Despite a girls soccer season marked by illness and chemotherapy treatments, Hirsch has performed exceptionally in her role of head coach.  Goalie Blythe Gross-Hutton, ’11, said Hirsch “has missed only a couple of practices.”  Recently, Hirsch has been working from her house in the mornings and coming in to school for meetings and practices. “I admire her for keeping up her strength even though it has been a really tough season for her,” said soccer co-captain Emma Weinstein, ’10.

The soccer team has put a lot of effort into supporting Hirsch and the ovarian cancer charities. According to Weinstein, the team wears teal bracelets and pre-wraps during practices and games since teal is the color for ovarian cancer awareness.  Additionally, members of the girls team, along with dozens of other supporters from the CCDS community, completed the Ovarian Cancer Walk on Saturday, Sept. 26. The team made shirts to commemorate Hirsch as well. When Hirsch’s mother died on Sunday, Sept. 27, the team planted a tree in Alaman Field for her.  Soccer player Claire Heinichen, ’11, said she believes that Hirsch’s sickness has “brought us closer together as a team.”

Upper School Head Stephanie Luebbers said, “If anyone could conquer cancer with attitude alone, it would be Hirsch.”

Hirsch said she has been able to remain hopeful throughout her cancer treatment because she’s “positive by nature.” She said she believes that ovarian cancer is “a very scary and terrible disease … but having support from so many people and taking each day has been my motto.”

Hirsch was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the end of June on a routine OBGYN check up. “It is the reason all woman need to have a yearly check up…it saved my life because we caught it early,” she said.  So far, she has endured five chemo treatments and has one more to go, scheduled for Nov. 9.   She has been doing very well, but admitted that, “Every day is a new day and you have to take the good days with the bad ones.”

Hirsch herself is trying to support the ovarian cancer cause. “We have raised about $1500 with the T-shirts, wristbands, and other donations,” she stated. She also has a Relay for Life Cancer Team and plans to walk in more ovarian cancer walks this summer.

As Mrs. Luebbers explained, “Hirsch always rolls with the punches, sees the glass half full, looks for ways to make lemonade of the lemons, and responds to challenges with unbridled energy and commitment.”  Her positive spirit in the face of adversity inspires the whole community.

Header photo by Ilana Habib.