Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

By Mark Dykes

Cleare rocks rainbow hair


February 7, 2019

Mark Dykes

Ashley Cleare brings plenty of color to her kindergarten classroom, with her hair colored like a rainbow. Cleare was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and in preparation for surgery and chemotherapy she shortened her hair and let her students vote on the color.

Last week, kindergarten teacher Ashley Cleare showed off her new hairstyle to her class. Though typically sporting dark brown hair past her shoulders, Cleare had a look on Wednesday, Jan. 30 that definitely turned some heads as she rocked a partially shaved head and rainbow colors, as voted on by her students.

New to the kindergarten team this year, Cleare grew up and graduated high school in Spring Creek, Nev., then attended college at Dickinson State University in Dickinson, N.D., where she also ran track, and earned her Bachelor's in Elementary Education. After school, she moved to outside Atlanta, Ga., and taught kindergarten for six years.

She moved back to Wyoming to be closer to family, and after four years of teaching Reading Recovery in Sheridan she came to Thermopolis.

The new hairstyle was something fun Cleare wanted to do before having her mastectomy, a choice she made after finding out she had breast cancer.

Cleare said she found the lump in December, had it checked Jan. 4 and found out she had cancer a few weeks later. "Everything moved really fast after that."

As for how she felt about her diagnosis, Cleare said, "Obviously you hope it's nothing, but Dr. Miller would always say 'it felt suspicious,' so in the back of my mind I kind of always prepared myself to hear those words. But, of course, it's nothing you ever want to hear and devastating but it felt good to know what it is so I knew what we could do about it."

Cleare noted the cancer is malignant and is a form of ductile cancer. Additionally, it has a phenome that makes it more aggressive, requiring chemotherapy after her mastectomy.

Typical of Thermopolis, since the announcement of Cleare's cancer people in the community have started organizing events with proceeds to help her medical expenses. Ralph Witters Elementary is planning a March fundraiser.

"I'm very blessed to be in Thermop," Cleare said. "Everyone has been super awesome. The school's been so supportive. Everyone I talk to has my back. That's the part that gets me the most, is how kind everyone is."


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