OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Last year was a tough one for everyone, especially those involved in the school system.
Westside Board of Education President Doug Krenzer was no exception. In fact, it was even tougher.
"He battled. And he was still an exemplary board member,” Westside Community Schools Superintendent Mike Lucas said. “Not many people can do that."
"I tell people that it's been a journey," Krenzer said.
On June 11, 2019, Kenzer was diagnosed with leukemia. It was his 48th birthday.
"I thought I had a chest cold,” Krenzer said. “I didn't feel quite right but I didn't consider that possibility."
Five months of chemotherapy and radiation followed before his cancer went into remission. Cancer, and the daily battles that come with it, and the recovery process still couldn’t keep him away.
"It was super, super important to me. I didn't want to shortchange the district at all,” Krenzer said. “I worked out a deal with my doctor to admit me on Tuesdays instead of Mondays, so I wouldn't miss the board meetings."
He had a relapse near the end of the summer of 2020. This time he needed a heavier chemo treatment and full-body radiation in preparation for a stem cell transplant from his brother. This happening when the pandemic was at its worst.
"Only my wife could visit me in the hospital,” Krenzer said. “The stay in the hospital for the transplant was three weeks."
The surgery was a success, but the recovery from the transplant wasn’t easy. Again, this didn’t stop Krenzer from giving back to the school district and community that has given back to him. Including last September when the district held the “Go the Distance for Doug” campaign.
"Doug is very inspirational. There were some days where I'm sure he wasn't feeling very well at all, but he never really let that show,” Lucas said. “He always came in very positive, very upbeat, and just a great teammate."
"They've been a huge reservoir of support for me," Krenzer said. “The lesson I've learned is that life is really difficult sometimes. You just have to keep going."
Krenzer is still in remission and says while he doesn’t think he will ever fully return to his former self; he is feeling much better and doesn’t take any day for granted. He still has appointments with his medical team, but those appointments are starting to become less frequent.