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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Life between the tolls: cancer diagnosis and community

Photo from the Back-to School Bash. Photo by Sophie Broome.

At Convocation held on Sept. 1, Wofford’s chaplain, Ron Robinson, reminded us of the tolls of the bell. The bell will toll once for each student on the first day of class and once more upon their passing.

Robinson reminds students that what is most important is how we live between the tolls. We never know the ways we will be impacted and the obstacles will arise from the first ring of the bell to the last.

Izzy Dugle ‘25, from Greer, South Carolina, has experienced a dramatic change from spring semester last year as first-year student to now as a sophomore.

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Last Spring, Dugle was doing what Wofford students do on a daily basis: Having dinner in Burwell. While still in the dining hall, she unexpectedly had a seizure.

Tests were executed and a mass was revealed. A biopsy performed later in the summer confirmed the worst: the tumor was a cancerous grade 2 astrocytoma.

A few weeks later, Dugle went to Duke Hospital where world-renowned surgeon, Dr. Henry Friedman, removed the tumor. More intense pathology revealed that the tumor had grade 3 sections. This diagnosis had a dramatic impact on Dugle’s summer.

This summer, she attended countless doctor’s visits, had to endure many three hour drives to Duke Medical Center and had two surgeries. Additionally, because of her seizure, Dugle could not and still cannot drive.

Despite the grave nature of the situation, Dugle knew that she desperately wanted to return to Wofford this fall.

“I definitely knew that I wanted to come back to Wofford,” Dugle said. “That was one thing I was never on the fence about, I was going to go back to Wofford.”

Because of the greater severity of the grade 3 sections, treatment had to be more aggressive. Izzy and her doctors decided chemotherapy and radiation treatments would be best. A GoFundMe page was started in her honor.

Over the summer, Wofford students became aware of Dugle’s diagnosis through the sharing of the GoFundMe page on social media. As the news of this diagnosis broke, the Greek community was already working on a back to school event.

Camp Williams ‘23 is currently serving as the President of the Interfraternity Council, while Anna Brown ‘23 is serving as the President of the Panhellenic Council.

Brown, Williams and Ashley Owen, assistant dean of students for leadership programs and fraternity and sorority life and dean of the senior class, met over the summer to plan the first Fraternity and Sorority Life event of the school year.

The goal of this event was to bring all Wofford students, Greek affiliated or not, together to celebrate the first week of school.

When the news of Dugle broke, Williams wanted the event to double as a way of supporting Dugle.

“I think something that’s really important for me is we have all these tools and resources to be able to help people around us, (so) why not use the power we have to benefit the community around us,” Williams said.

IFC, Panhellenic and Campus Union worked together to host the event. The event, held at the Greek Pavilion on Sept. 3 had the One Love Fusion and Highway 301 food trucks as well as live music from Jude Walker ‘25.

Approximately 250 students attended the event. A total of $1,360 was given to Dugle to help fund her treatments. Dugle is incredibly appreciative of all of the support from the Wofford community.

“I am completely shocked by all the different ways that people have wanted to help me, including hosting fundraisers and donating to help me pay for medical bills and signing up to drive me to my radiation treatments,” Dugle said.

Living in between the tolls is so important. Dugle’s resilience to this obstacle is a testament to her character that will serve a great benefit to her life beyond Wofford.

“The Wofford community in general has offered me so much support and love that I am so happy that I came back and got to be with everyone,” Dugle said. “I got numerous texts and calls from all parts of the Wofford community, but especially my sisters in Theta.”

“They are where I am able to feel extra love and warmth and acceptance for more than just what I am going through but also for who I am,” Dugle said.

The Wofford community’s service to her is what we are called to do as a campus community and will be appreciated and remembered for years to come.

Please feel free to use this link to donate to support Dugle’s treatment and journey.

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Katie Kirk, Managing Editor
Government Major from Greenville, SC
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