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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Former MES Teacher Fights For Her Life


Former Mansfield Elementary teacher, Kristen Wheeler, is battling for her life due to cancer.  As a community, we can help!  An account has been set up at Farmer’s Bank called, “Kristen Wheeler Benefit Account.”  If you would like to donate and help this loving family, you may give at any Farmer’s Bank location.

Almost two years ago, Kristen Wheeler, former Mansfield Elementary teacher, received the news that no one ever wants to be told.  She had thought she had a stomach bug and had been instructed to go home and get rest and fluids.  Time passed by, and Kristen again thought she was battling mastitis.  As a young woman in her twenties, she never had thoughts that these were signs of breast cancer.  More time passed, and in May she felt like she had injured her back in some way.  They made a trip to their local family doctor in Fort Smith, and that is where Kristen’s life changed forever. 

After tests were run, she was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer and a collapsed vertebra.  The back pain was due to the crushed C7 where a lesion had eaten on Kristen’s spine from the breast cancer.  The calcium from the C7 dissolving was literally killing her kidneys.  Kristen was immediately life flighted to UAMS, and it is there the doctors began to work to help bring back some normalcy to Kristen.  She underwent surgery and received plates and rods in her neck to repair the damage from the cancer and a cancer treatment plan went into place.

Kristen didn’t give up fighting.  However, the cancer continued to attack. Some time later, spots of cancer appeared on the fluid outside of her brain, and Kristen once again underwent surgery. 

Then, a week after Christmas, Kristen developed a cough, and she was hospitalized.  She was delivered the news that now, spots of cancer are showing on her lungs and liver.  She fought hard that week to return home on oxygen and after a week stay in the hospital, she was finally home once again.  She then began chemo treatments. 

Right before Kristen went in for her 3rd chemo treatment, she began to struggle breathing and was rushed to the hospital again.  Kristen is now in ICU and fighting for her life.

Kristen and her husband, JR, have been through so much, yet in the past two years have gave to our surrounding communities while in the midst of their own battles.  The Wheelers had just began building Roo Doo’s Wildlife Park when Kristen was diagnosed with breast cancer, and although it has slowed down the process, the Wheelers still want to continue building the zoo.  However, their first priority is getting Kristen well, so she can return home to be with their two beautiful daughters and family. 

Kristen has personally touched the lives of so many she has came in contact.  A former student’s father recently said, “Mrs. Wheeler made the difference in my son’s life while she was at Mansfield.  If it wasn’t for her, I don’t know where we would be with our son.”

Another teacher at Mansfield said, “Kristen was always going above and beyond to reach students and have fun learning.”

It’s no secret, when you talk with Kristen that teaching and helping students learn to read is her passion.  Kristen is also a certified Dyslexia coordinator and was just teaching for Arkansas Virtual Academy this past semester, until she had to quit due to the cancer.  The Wheelers just recently made a trip to Mansfield and Hackett schools to introduce their “Wild About Reading Program” where they passed out free books to the entire elementary schools. 

Even though cancer has been attacking, Kristen has not given up fighting.  As a community, we need to give back to those who have gave to us.  If you are interested in helping, a benefit account is set up at Farmer’s Bank called, “Kristen Wheeler’s Benefit Account.”  You may give at any Farmer’s Bank location.  Most of all, we ask for you to pray for Kristen and her family as they continue to fight for healing and a miracle for Kristen’s life. 

For more updates on Kristen, please follow Roo Doo’s Wildlife Park page.

Former Mansfield Elementary Teacher, Kristen Wheeler, is one of the most loving people you could ever meet.

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