A Principal, A Survivor

Tuscarora Principal Pamela Croft shares her story to promote strength and healing during breast cancer awareness month


By: Sarah Kebei


This October in the U.S we celebrate National Breast Cancer Awareness month, which is an annual international health campaign organized by numerous breast cancer charities to help raise awareness about the serious impacts of breast cancer. Breast Cancer is one of the many harsh cancers that not only women face, but in some rare cases men, too. It is advised that women between the ages of 20 and older should be regularly screened and examined so that if there is any indication of breast cancer it can be detected early on. This cancer is among the most common cancers. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime.


Our very own Mrs. Pamela Croft, Principal at Tuscarora High School, is a survivor. So this month holds an extra special importance to our school community as it took on a whole new meaning for her back in 2019. She spoke on how she would often postpone mammogram appointments as time would get away from her. “I was on vacation at the beach in July of 2019 when I noticed pain in my breast.  Looking back, the pain had been there for a minute but because I was always on the move,  I just did not notice it until I slowed down and relaxed during vacation,” she reflects. But now she emphasizes to everyone the importance for women of all ages to get checked monthly and to get mammograms yearly as recommended.


Croft also states that a common misconception that people have about breast cancer is that it is a death sentence but she notes that “doctors nowadays have many more effective treatments today that save or extend the life of breast cancer patients.” While the journey was extremely challenging, being “surrounded by a village of folks that made [her] cancer journey feel less terrifying…doctors, family, friends, and the Tuscarora community.  It was tough…no question about that,” She continues, “but I am a survivor and so thankful.” Having that community rallying behind her made some of the more challenging times easier to bear. “It can also be very isolating because you have to be super careful with germs and all those kinds of things,” she stated. 


She remembers that the most difficult part for her was the initial fear and then later the exhaustion throughout her journey; “I cut off my hair prior to chemo to feel I had just a little control over a situation that I had no other control.” That initial fear turned into an action plan as she met with her team of doctors. After coming up with a treatment plan that included a bi-lateral mastectomy and numerous surgeries and radiation, Croft knew she was up for the fight.


With something as prevalent as breast cancer, the chances that you will have or will know someone that has to fight this terrible disease is high. She wants others to know that it is important “to surround yourself with positive people…and that they let as much ‘stuff’ go as possible and just focus on healing…Laugh as much as possible; it truly helps in healing.  Your mind, body, and spirit play such an important role in getting through it,” Croft encourages.