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After Kim Brigham was diagnosed with brain cancer, her community came together to make sure her family got the support they needed.
On January 21, Kim, 45, who was an art teacher and track coach at Wahoo High School in Wahoo, Nebraska, was told she had a mass on her brain that was inoperable.
“It was a gut punch,” her husband, Rob Brigham, told TODAY.com. “The minute I hung up with my wife, I went straight to the hospital.”
Since then, her Wahoo family has been there every step of the way to lend a hand to Kim, Rob and their five children.
The couple has had to fly from Wahoo, where they both grew up, to Duke every other month for Kim to get treated, which has taken a toll on their bank account. To raise money for the family, their community has made and sold gray ribbons and even hosted a color run in June to incorporate Kim’s love of art and running. The Brighams have also received a lot of gift cards for food and gas.
On top of all that, Wahoo's generous residents organized a meal train to make sure the family was always fed, paid visits to the hospital and hosted prayer sessions at local churches.
“While the money is certainly helpful in terms of travel and medical expenses, just to know people are thinking of us and giving us support, more importantly moral support, has just been tremendous,” Rob said. “That’s the part that means the most to us.”
The family has come a long way since the day they heard the diagnosis. Later that night, they told their kids, who range in age from 8 to 19, and all ended up sleeping on the couch and floor together.
After waking up the next morning, they decided that they were going to remain positive and not give up and that’s the attitude they’ve adopted since.
When their oldest daughter, 19-year-old Bailey, had plans to attend the school dance, she asked her dad if she should still go.
“I told her that we’re not going to let this define us and that we’re not going to change our daily routine,” Rob said.
A fellow teacher at the high school came up with the slogan "Kim Possible" to rally around her and it stuck. It wasn't long before people were incorporating it into hashtags, statuses and even T-shirts.
Kim is hanging in there and plans on going back to school to teach full-time in the fall.
“Her energy level is good but her attitude is even better,” Rob said.