Parent with breast cancer surprised with massive show of support at West Point Elementary School

Published 8:00 am Thursday, October 26, 2023

A West Point Elementary School parent was treated with signs of support after her diagnosis of breast cancer recently. 

Amber Lawson-Boothby, mother of WPES students Maxine and Oliver, came to the school for a parent-teacher conference Wednesday and was surprised with a hallway of students in pink to honor her.

“I turned the corner to go down the hallway, and it was just nothing but pink pom-poms,” Boothby said. 

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According to WPES Teacher Tarra Harris, some teachers first found out about Boothby’s battle earlier in the Breast Cancer Awareness Month. They decided to arrange a walkthrough for Boothby with a poster and pink pom-poms. 

But when Harris told Maxine and Oliver’s classmates about the plan, she said many of them decided to go home and make posters of their own. 

Boothby said after six years, her treatments have become the norm for her family so she was grateful to see the support and love from WPES. 

“It’s a family battle. It’s not just me battling it. It’s a reality for my husband and kids as well,” Boothby said. “So to see the fact that they have people surrounding them with love is incredible.”

Maxine and Oliver said they both enjoyed seeing their mom’s reaction on Wednesday. Maxine said it was cool to see everyone lined up down the hall. 

Harris said she and the others at the school hoped to set an example for the other students at WPES on how people in their community should be supported.

Boothby was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer in 2017. She and her family moved to West Point from North Carolina two years ago when her husband became the pastor of Refuge Point Church. 

There they found a community, but Boothby said at first many didn’t know about her battle. Since they found out, she said Wednesday’s event was not the first sign of support she has received.

“I have connected with so many people here in the Valley area,” Boothby said. “It’s like that sisterhood you never asked to be a part of. But people rally around you, and the community here is incredible for that.”

After noticing some worrying symptoms during her pregnancy, Boothby went to her doctor with her concerns. It wasn’t until after she gave birth to her Oliver that her doctor finally discovered the truth. 

Boothby said she has learned to be an advocate for herself when it comes to her health. She said she wished she had not allowed her doctor to dismiss her concerns. 

After battling breast cancer for over six years, her advice to others is to listen to their bodies and don’t disregard early signs.

“Don’t ignore it,” she said. 

Boothby also encouraged people to seek resources that can help them. She said she has been involved with Team WHIP, a local breast cancer awareness and resource organization.