GREENWOOD, Ark. —
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been no shortage of numbers - cases, deaths, active infections, vaccines. But in the coming weeks, 5NEWS wants to put a face and a name to one of those statistics - as efforts ramp up to get more Americans vaccinated.
Hollie Husband is a teacher in the River Valley who lives in Greenwood, Arkansas. When the pandemic began, the 43-year-old and her family had to decide whether she would continue working in the classroom because she is immune-compromised.
“I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in fall 2014. I was 36 years old,” said Hollie Husband. “I absolutely have had to look death in the face.”
Six-and-a-half years later, Husband is in maintenance, not yet remission, for her cancer and still takes daily oral chemotherapy.
“By the end of the day, I’m exhausted. So my health already suffers, but I still want to teach,” Husband said.
But her passion for teaching solidified her decision to stay face-to-face with her students, and her experience as a breast cancer survivor solidified her decision to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it became available.
“Because we’ve trusted God and modern medicine in our lives already,” Husband said. “Somebody at some point took the first smallpox vaccine, somebody at some point took the first measles vaccine, and somebody took the first polio vaccine.”
After Husband got the Pfizer vaccine in January 2021, she says it was a huge relief, and she's now chosen not to wear a mask at work.
“We don’t live in fear, but we live with caution now,” Husband said
After missing a year in the classroom because of cancer, Husband says she’s so grateful things are slowly getting back to normal after losing another year to COVID-19.
“You just are reminded what a precious gift this in-person teaching is and that you’re able to hug a kid and you’re able to love on them and be right beside them and not have to worry,” Husband said.
And for those considering getting vaccinated, Hollie says it’s important to talk to your doctor and decide what’s best for your family.
“For my family, it was, I wanted to be vaccinated. For my family, it was, my boys and my husband want to protect me at all costs,” Husband said.
Six of Hollie’s children are 16 and older. All of them have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine or plan to get vaccinated by this summer. She says she hopes they can have a graduation party for their 2021 graduate and feel comfortable gathering with others.