Harlingen teacher inspires students as she battles breast cancer

Teaching middle school isn't an occupation, it's a calling.

For Venessa Hinojosa it's also a little attitude mixed with art since she is the choir director for Coakley Middle School in Harlingen.

This is her eighth grade girls choir.

By the looks of Venessa's head you've probably already guessed she's engaged in an epic struggle.

Indeed, she's fighting cancer; breast cancer.

"Being able to be here is part of why I believe I am doing so well, because I can be here and be me and not worry about everything else, Venessa said.

Once she started chemo therapy, Veneessa decided to bite the bullet and shave her head rather than have her hair fall out one clump at a time.

Now she is gearing up for the next stage of recovery, surgery.

"I'll definitely have to take some time off, it's a pretty big surgery they're planning to do so I'll be returning as soon as I can to be here with the kids and do my job, I love my job, she said.

During this interview there wasn't a dry eye in the house, these girls aren't being taught so much as they're being inspired.

"I love her very much, she's the best choir director I've ever had and she is a strong woman, one student said. "She's strong and I know she's going to make it through the surgery."

More than 2.5 million women are considered breast cancer survivors in the United States.

The American Cancer Society statistics show more than a quarter million women diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011.

It TMs the second most common cancer in women and the second deadliest after lung cancer.

Most shocking is 13% of all women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives.

The good news is the survival rate is on the rise.

Vanessa's outlook remains on the rise, she hasn't missed a beat since her diagnosis and is getting her young ladies ready for this year's choir competition.

"I hope they know I'm going to be okay, Venessa told Action 4 News. I hope they know that if I can do this, if something similar happens to them or a family member, they can just keep going."

By the looks of things this choir director stands a pretty good chance of beating breast cancer giving her plenty of time to teach more young ladies how to reach the high notes and deal with the low notes.