Posted on

‘Appreciation Day’ planned for CCHS teacher, coach

‘Appreciation Day’ planned for CCHS teacher, coach
‘Appreciation Day’ planned for CCHS teacher, coach
Mark Eichmiller

Mark Eichmiller, a special education teacher and freshman basketball coach at Corydon Central High School, was diagnosed last year with esophageal cancer and has been undergoing treatment, including two surgeries.
‘It was quite a shock,’ he said.
The diagnosis for esophageal cancer is mostly grim, and Eichmiller was no exception. He was told, with treatment, his chance of survival was from three to five years. Without treatment, he was given only a few months.
Eichmiller, a native of Loogootee who had spent 20 years in Texas before moving back to Southern Indiana, had surgery to remove the tumor in his esophagus, which consisted of removing 75 percent of his esophagus and using part of his stomach to rebuild it. He then had a second surgery to repair a tear, and has undergone numerous rounds of radiation and chemotherapy, with his final round maintenance chemotherapy this Friday.
Amazingly, though, his medical oncologist at Brown Cancer Center in Louisville, Dr. Videk R. Sharma, and his surgeon, Dr. Robert Martin, of University Surgical Associations, have given him a new prognosis this time using the word ‘cured.’
‘I can’t say enough about Corydon,’ Eichmiller said. ‘We feel very indebted to the community, to the school district. It’s unimaginable the love they’ve shown us.’
Eichmiller said from the very beginning, neighbors, co-workers, friends, family and even people he didn’t know at all were dropping by cards, food and words of support for Eichmiller, his wife, Dana, and their two sons, Ryan, 16, and Jared, 13.
‘We have not felt alone,’ he said.
Eichmiller has spent more than a month in the hospital since his diagnosis for various treatments and surgeries, and once because he developed a blood clot behind his lung. Since his diagnosis came during his first year as a teacher at CCHS, he had 12 sick days and was given a limited number of days from the sick leave bank, meaning the rest of his time away from work has been unpaid.
His fellow teachers and other faculty and staff at the school and in the South Harrison Community School Corp. are working together to ensure Eichmiller and his family will keep getting the support they need, as well as raising awareness for esophageal cancer. Since his diagnosis, Eichmiller said he’s met other people in the community who have gone through similar situations.
Mark Eichmiller Appreciation Day will be Thursday, May 1, at CCHS. In honor of the event, there will be free admission to the baseball and softball games being played there that night. The boys’ varsity game, against Brownstown, begins at 6 p.m. The girls’ JV game, against Salem, begins at 5:30, with varsity to follow under the lights.
The Adult Booster Club will grill pork chops, brats, hamburgers and hot dogs, with side items also available for purchase. Food service begins at 4 p.m.
There will also be a Cornhole Tournament for up to 64 two-person teams. Each team will pay an entry fee of $10 per person. Winners will receive a cornhole set, made by the CCHS shop classes. To sign up, contact Jeremy Ledford or Joe Oakes during school hours at CCHS at 738-4181.
A raffle will also be held for a baseball weekend package, May 17 and 18, in Cincinnati to see two games featuring the Cincinnati Reds and the Cleveland Indians, as well as an overnight hotel stay. The total value of the package is estimated at $400; the tickets were donated by Kratz Sporting Goods.