BOULDER, Colo. –
Saturday morning marked the end of a more-than-year-long struggle with breast cancer for Leson Dunkley-Hansen, a former teacher at Boulder Community School of Integrated Studies and a mother of four.
Dunkley-Hansen was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. The cancer eventually spread to her brain and lungs and caused her to stop teaching her fifth-grade class in March 2008. She died Saturday.
She is survived by her children, Alys, 19, James, 18, Austin, 15, and Emma, 10.
Her sister Michelle Dunkley-Clark described her as “open, devoted, loving.”
The family opened Dunkley-Hansen’s home for a vigil that ends Tuesday morning. Her sister said it’s good to see a full house of people come to say goodbye.
“She was surrounded by and continues to be surrounded by loving people,” she said.
A bell-ringing fundraiser held May 9 raised more than $18,000 for Dunkley-Hansen. Her sister said the support has been overwhelming, including the keepsakes that many children brought to put beneath the flowered wreath in Dunkley-Hansen’s room.
Dunkley-Clark said that, though this will be a difficult time, life will go on for the family.
“We’re trying to help (the children) learn that it’s not a tragedy,” she said. “It’s not tragic; it’s real life.
“Anytime you lose your parent it’s sad. … They are lucky to be surrounded by such a loving community.”
And Dunkley-Clark said all that her sister did for others will preserve her memory.
“Her legacy is in her children and all the children she’s taught,” Dunkley-Clark said. “She will always be a part of their lives.”