Interviewing Mr. Kimmel


Jessie Sahagun-Ponce, Reporter

Earlier this school year, one of the art teachers at Eastmont High School was diagnosed with Stage 4, Diffuse, Non-Hodgkin’s, Lymphoma that originated in his lymph nodes. Mr. Kimmel has been absent since the fall but recently was able to come back to work full time. 


When asked how it felt to not be around the school, he responded: 


“ It was lonely not being around EHS.  I missed all of you terribly.  Further, immunocompromised means living in fear of getting sick.  The slightest cold to the average person is no big deal, but it would put me in the hospital.  It’s part of the process, and that’s okay.  However, it means being away from friends and family.  Knowing this, I cannot thank the staff and students of EHS enough for all the love and support.  Every email, picture, care basket, and event held helped to keep me in a positive mindset.  I had a support crew of a few thousand humans.  I am forever in debt to all of you wonderful humans.”

As part of Mr. Kimmel’s treatment, he had to undergo Chemotherapy. 

“ Chemotherapy is a three week cycle: one week of being toxic to those around you and feeling sick, one week of yucky adjustment to coming off all the drugs, and one week of almost feeling normal.  I was very lucky as my side effects did not keep me in bed or make me nauseous.  Sure, I spent a lot of time on the couch watching soccer, but there are people who struggled more in their treatments.  It wasn’t a vacation for me, but all things considered I feel as if my body handled the drugs fairly well.”

His Response on the process from Chemotherapy 

“ I was fortunate to be young and in good health (special thanks to the girls soccer team for keeping me in shape!).  Therefore, I qualified for a couple aggressive treatments that cut my hospital time from eight hours of being stuck with needles to only three!  Kinda great.  To help my body cope with the massive amount of injected poisonous medicine, the nurses also include a huge dose of intravenous Benadryl.  Turns out I get super sleepy with Benadryl!  The nurses would wake me up at the end of the infusion to tell me I could go home.  Waking up from this nap started the week of feeling crummy.” 

When asked about the concerns of relatives having to send an endless amount for the treatment

As a teacher I have medical insurance which covers the vast majority of the cost.  Medical insurance is important because chemotherapy was $24,000.00 per round, and I did six rounds.  Thanks to my insurance I only paid a fraction of the cost.  That said, there was a financial obligation I had to pay.  And yes, I had help.  One of the miracle moments involved a lab bill the insurance refused to pay.  The day after that significant bill arrived the EHS staff donated the same amount of money to my family.  The staff didn’t know about the bill, they simply gave me a gift for Christmas.  What a gift, what amazing timing!  There were tears of disbelief and joy around my family’s table.  

Every student should know that your teachers are amazing in their generosity and love.  You are surrounded by admirable adults every day at EHS.  They worked a miracle, truly.” 

His response to when it all began and ended

“ The official diagnosis was October 6, 2022, but I knew I had some form of cancer in late August.

March 28, 2023 I was given the news I was cancer free!  

Every day since then I see it as a gift, to choose happiness, to try my best to return the vast amount of support, care, and love to everyone in my life.”  

In Conclusion on how it felt to recover enough for him to be back home from the hospital

“ I had my last surgery on Wednesday, April 12th.  It feels good to be out of the hospital, but I miss the people who helped me along the way.  The receptionists and nurses provided the most incredible care.  They are knowledgeable, empathetic, positive, and caring people.  The folks in the Oncology department became my family when I couldn’t even see my own children.  Entering society and “normal” life is really cool, but I will always admire those people as the heroes that saved my life. “   

We’re relieved he’s back cause it’s common that people don’t survive so it was really heartwarming, April 10th, 2023