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Community rallies behind Washington County, Tenn. SRO battling brain tumor

Deputy Mitzie Brooks-Hensley

Friends, family and complete strangers are rallying behind a Washington County, Tenn. school resource officer who is right in the thick of a fight with a brain tumor.

Deputy Mitzie Brooks Hensley walks the halls of Lamar Elementary every day; a symbol of safety and strength for both teachers and students.

And you wouldn't know that when the badge comes off, Hensley is fighting a brain tumor that has a strangle hold over a group of nerves limiting her speech and rotation of her shoulder.

Hensley was diagnosed in Oct. of last year with a meningioma brain tumor, but the problem started long before that, in March of 1999.

"I had woke up one morning, and I was pregnant with my son who's now 19, I though I had laryngitis, but it didn't go away," Hensley told WCYB.

For years, doctors disregarded a knot on Hensley's head, thinking it would eventually go away.

It didn't.

"Come to find out that knot was not a swollen lymph node, it was actually part of this tumor that had grown to the point that it had grown outside of my skull and it started growing into the neck area," Hensley said.

Now, Hensley is making trips to New York City to see a specialist who will work to remove the tumor, which is now encapsulating her carotid artery. She couldn't be more excited for the procedure in June.

"To me, he's a god gift because he's going to help me, and to my understanding, he's helped quite a bit of people that have come to him," Hensley said.

Hensley isn't fighting alone. The Washington County Sheriff's Office and staff from Lamar Elementary are holding a benefit in her honor on June 7th.

"I think courageous is a good way to describe her," Leslie Lyons, principal of Lamar Elementary, said. "She has taken all of the things that she's gone through and kept a smile on her face, and continued to do her job and be responsible for all the students and teachers here. We just look at that and say, 'wow.' We're just so humbled and impressed by her work and her dedication, even in this time of trial for her."

You can donate to a Go Fund Me page set up for Hensley here.

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