Team Karen

In support of Rocklin High’s Discipline Tech Karen Cox, and her battle with cancer, teachers wore pink every week

More stories from Morgan Fitzgerald

Sports Takeover
February 24, 2021

Photo provided by RHS staff and teachers (from last year before COVID)

On December 30, 2019, Rocklin High’s Discipline Tech, Karen Cox, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Cox’s family has a history of breast cancer, but that didn’t make the diagnosis any less shocking and scary. 

Cox started chemotherapy on January 20, 2020, and she ended up doing 16 rounds of chemo. In July, she had surgery, and after that she did radiation everyday for six weeks starting in August.

After more chemotherapy, she finally finished in mid-January, a year after the start of her journey. 

As soon as Rocklin High School teachers and staff heard, they teamed up to support her right away. History teacher Laura Douglas and language arts teacher Adrienne Tacla kickstarted the pink spirit days, even referring to the teachers as “Team Karen”. Through emails, announcements at staff meetings, and talk around the school, they spread the word; every Thursday, staff members wore pink in support of Cox and her battle with cancer. 

When asked about her inspiration for helping get the Team Karen spirit days started, Douglas commented, “I’m a [cancer] survivor… and the support of the staff and the students was incredible and I knew what a difference that had made for me; and that’s what we wanted to do for Mrs. Cox.”

After the school shut down in March, the support continued virtually, with teachers sending email chains including photos of them rockin’ their pink gear. 

A little support can go a long way, and any small gesture did not go unnoticed by Cox. She reflected that, “It takes a minute just to send an email, but what that whole minute they took to do that, it meant the world to me.” 

In addition to emails and photo sharing, students signed posters and cards, Rocklin sports teams dedicated games to her, and the staff helped alleviate any extra stress Cox might have had during the time. 

“Anytime I had an appointment, I just had to tell [Mrs. Hopper (secretary)] and she filled in a substitute right away… they made it so simple and so easy; things I didn’t even think about, they just took care of me.”

After PET scan results on Feb. 10, Cox is cancer free and carrying on her duties at Rocklin High School with plenty of excitement and the support of staff and students still on her side.