The superintendent of Jacksonville’s school district says he’s no longer receiving chemotherapy treatments for an aggressive form of lymphoma.
Steve Ptacek, in his first year at the helm of District 117, was diagnosed with cancer in May and says last Thursday was his final treatment.
Ptacek says he has a new outlook on life.
“Any time someone faces something as serious as cancer, it gives them an opportunity to establish new priorities, understand the importance of family and of friends, and of a support structure, which I definitely have to thank the people of Jacksonville for being so supportive throughout this ordeal,” he says.
Ptacek says he will still need three weeks of radiation treatment to ensure the tumors in question are reduced in size as much as possible and that the cancer is killed. He says that’ll start later this month
He says hopes to provide a good example for other people facing similar circumstances.
“I’ve gotten tons of letters and emails from individuals that have gone through cancer themselves, and each one of those communications has served as an inspiration for me,” says Ptacek.
“Because I’m in a visible position, if that allows me to serve as some inspiration for somebody else, I feel very fortunate to be in that position, especially knowing how many individuals have helped me get through this.”
Ptacek was able to work at District 117 during treatment and stay on top of what was happening in the district, only missing one school board meeting.
He says the chemotherapy prevented him from being at the office as much as he normally would be this summer, and that he looks forward to being more visible in District 117.