Minnesota School of Business (MSB) – Rochester vet tech graduate and breast cancer survivor Tara Leonard is continuing to make strides in her life.
Tara’s life changed forever as she was studying for a class. Her dog, Willow, started nudging at her left side and that ended up alerting her of a lump, which turned out to be breast cancer. On Jan. 5, 2015 just three weeks after her official diagnosis, Tara underwent surgery to remove her cancer, which included a partial mastectomy. That was followed by nine months of chemotherapy and radiation. Read more about her journey here.
Tara did not let cancer slow her down one bit. She graduated in the spring and was the speaker at her ceremony.
“In the last three years of my MSB education, I have seen many faces come and go. Students, faculty, staff, and instructors. Most of them I will never forget. I have made some lasting friendships and found myself. I found how strong I am and how to handle myself through the toughest of situations,” Tara read at the beginning of her speech.
She went on to say that her time at MSB was far from a typical college career, and she met a lot of great people along the way.
“Tara was always willing to help out her fellow classmates and go above and beyond expectations in the classroom every day. I really enjoyed working with her and seeing her grow into a wonderful vet tech,” said Dr. Katie Morris, MSB resident veterinarian.
Tara also mentioned her battle with cancer and how the support from her friends, family and strangers helped her during her graduation speech.
“Going through cancer I have learned to appreciate the smallest things and to have more patience,” Tara read during her speech.
Tara has since accepted a job as a veterinary technician at Scott Lake Veterinary Center in Savage.
“Next up is looking at going for my bachelor’s degree. For a long-term goal, I would like to specialize in dentistry and nutrition for both large and small animals. My main focus right now is staying healthy, keeping a positive attitude, enjoying my family, and continuing in my field of study. Graduating the end of March was definitely a highlight for me, to overcome obstacles and jump right back in, it meant the world to me,” Tara said.