Auburn student stand by their teacher, organize benefit

It came as an abrupt blow and a temporary setback for Molly Serna.

It came as an abrupt blow and a temporary setback for Molly Serna.
When the Auburn Mountainview High School honors language arts teacher was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in October 2009, she had to leave behind her refuge – the classroom she has known for 22 years – and beloved students.
“It was a miserable time,” Serna recalled of the early battle with the disease, which included surgery and five months of weekly chemotherapy.
Ovarian cancer seldom is detected early. It is not as widely known or funded for research as other cancers, but it is just as difficult and insidious to treat.
Undaunted, Serna – supported by family, friends, faculty and students – took the rest of the school year off to tackle it.
She returned last September, fit and strong enough to commit full-time to her gifted students.
Her cancer has been in remission for nine months, but the prognosis remains unclear.
“It is the type of cancer, a chronic disease, that always comes back,” Serna said. “But I’m optimistic. My doctors are really pleased.”
If the cancer returns, the 48-year-old Serna, a wife and mother of two sons, will be ready to resume the fight.
In her fifth year at Mountainview, Serna’s situation is well known across the campus. It has touched staff and students who have done their part by raising funds and delivering meals to help a family in need.
Grateful for the support, Serna will be front and center as a featured speaker tonight at a student-led talent program at the school. Musicians In Support against Cancer – a benefit for the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance – starts at 7 p.m. at the Auburn Mountainview Theatre, 28900 124th Ave. SE.
Admission is $5. Organizers have raised about $500 in pre-sale tickets and are ultimately hoping to raise $2,000.
The program includes at least nine student performances, as well as other appearances. Students, many of whom Serna taught, will sing, dance, play music and perform magic tricks.
The benefit program was the brainchild of students Naomi Tsai, Katie Burkhauser and Matthew Scheurman, in collaboration with the school’s chamber orchestra.
“We thought this would be a good thing to do for a great cause, a great person and an amazing teacher,” said Tsai, a senior who will play the electric fiddle tonight. “(Serna) has always been really supportive of her students. She cares about her students. … Everybody respects her a lot … and we wanted to do something for her.”
Serna’s message tonight will be twofold.
“For one thing, it’s the appreciation I have for the staff and students for all their support,” Serna said. “And more needs to be known about ovarian cancer.”
What better place to start than at a school she calls home?
“I couldn’t be in a better place to work,” Serna said. “I want to work there until I retire. The teachers, staff and students have been so great to me.”


For more information about tonight’s concert, call 253-632-8008.