Andover Central coach, teacher battles cancer a second time

Published: May. 16, 2020 at 9:14 PM CDT
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Three years ago, Andover Central softball coach and art teacher, Rita Frakes, discovered she had breast cancer. This year, on the exact same date, she found another lump on her collarbone, and is fighting once again.

"Just know that cancer picked the wrong person, twice." Frakes said. "I was thinking three years. I was kind of getting to that point where I was going to be okay. Doggonit, I didn't quite make it."

Frakes says doctors could only remove about 40 percent of the mass.

"So that scared me that it was kind of entangled with things."

And things were just starting to get better.

"It was like, 'this is not happening again,' because for the first time I taught this year almost no pain, I lost weight, I felt good. It was like that oiled machine that was working so amazingly good and then it was just like 'boom,' something hits you in the stomach and just takes the wind out of you and it's like 'Dude, not again!'

She says good news from her doctor helps her believe she can beat cancer for a second time.

"Then I thought, you know you got to pick yourself up, you can fight this."

Frakes has coached and taught in Andover and Clearwater for years.

"I'm on my 38th, 38 years."

She says her school is a huge support system.

"I've seen people that have been alone and I don't know how people do that." Frakes aid. "I have been blessed with more than my share and I feel like more than I'll ever deserve but I love it, I take it and I feed off of it and that energy."

Frakes says losing her students, the softball season, and even a co-worker have made the past couple of months tough, but she still has too many things to live for. So, she'll keep fighting.

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