High School Sports

Here’s great news — OLA coach Breanna Halley is cancer free

Breanna Halley continued teaching and coaching while undergoing treatment for breast cancer. She announced on Facebook recently she is free of breast cancer.
Breanna Halley continued teaching and coaching while undergoing treatment for breast cancer. She announced on Facebook recently she is free of breast cancer. ttisbell@sunherald.com file

Breanna Halley’s husband, Zach, said it perfectly Tuesday.

“We finally heard the words we’ve been wanting to hear for almost a year now. BRE IS CANCER FREE,” he posted on his Facebook page.

Anyone who has ever met Zach Halley or knows someone who has gone through cancer treatment can imagine his emotions as he typed the celebratory message.

Congratulations quickly flooded Breanna Halley’s Facebook page, because the Our Lady Academy basketball and track coach has been battling breast cancer since May.

She said she had a CT scan Monday. It was her husband who took the phone call with the good news that she is in remission.

“When he told me, I was in the middle of track practice, so I was just like, ‘oh, OK,’” she said. “I didn’t think much about it and then he tells the whole track team in the middle of practice while they’re running.

“Needless to say, they all stopped in the middle of running and tackled me.”

She joked that he may have actually been more excited than she about the news.

“I guess I was expecting it and wasn’t worried about it, so that made it a little easier,” she said.

Long road to remission

Breanna Halley reached a big milestone in February when she underwent her last radiation treatment. It was the culmination of months of grueling treatment, but through it all she remained optimistic. The hair loss, fatigue and surgeries were all excruciating, but she pushed through. Feb. 10 was a momentous occasion for the Halleys, one they had been hoping for. But she’s been waiting to hear she’s cancer free for a long, long time.

“It’s finally like a light at the end of the tunnel is near,” she said in February. “... Those will be the best words. Ever.”

Her battle with cancer involved 17 rounds of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, the removal of seven lymph nodes and then 34 radiation treatments.

Even though her days would drag on, going from treatments in Gulfport to class and then practices or games, she didn’t take extensive time off.

“It would have been easier to take a couple weeks off — they tried to talk me into it — but I just couldn’t do it,” she had said. “That’s really what it was. I was planning on taking off four weeks, but (OLA) wanted me back. It was nice. It keeps me distracted, not thinking about it, and feeling normal.”

Throughout her battle, Breanna Halley received an abundance of support and inspiration from friends, family and the Coast community as a whole. Her husband’s continued encouragement, she said, made the biggest difference.

“There’s no way I could have done it without them,” she said. “None. No way.”

Moving forward

Looking ahead, she said she’ll go back for a checkups every three months, then later every six months, one year and two years.

“It’s still a long process, but it beats going to the hospital every day,” she said. “I’m feeling much better. I’m still not completely 100 percent there, but I’m much better than I was.”

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2321, @PatrickOchs