A group of 10-12 Raymond Elementary School students dropped by the school office to see principal Donna Ball, bringing hand-made cards, best wishes and hugs.

A group of 10-12 Raymond Elementary School students dropped by the school office to see principal Donna Ball, bringing hand-made cards, best wishes and hugs.

Back in her office after the students had departed, Ball choked back tears.

"This is why I do this," she said.

Ball, recently diagnosed with breast cancer, is scheduled to begin chemotherapy next week. Treatment for the aggressive type of cancer also will be aggressive, Ball said, and likely will include chemotherapy followed by radiation and surgery.

"The outpouring (of support) from all across the district has been, to say the least, incredible," said Ball, also principal at Navin Elementary School.

Parents were notified of her condition by letter this week. Ball said she encouraged parents to talk about it with their children.

"I felt families needed to tell their children in the best way for them," she said. "I don't want the children to be afraid of me or for me."

School staff will be available to speak to students and answer their questions.

While she is undergoing treatment, Ball will continue to serve as principal at Raymond, working at the school when possible.

"The support at the school has been great," Ball said. "The teachers, kids and parents all know my expectations, and they know how to function when I'm out of the office."

The district has reassigned Leanne Katterheinrich to serve as principal at Navin. Katterheinrich currently works in the district's special education department, but was an elementary school principal for nine years in Upper Arlington before coming to Marysville.

"I'm a fighter," Ball said. "I don't have any other feeling than, 'I'm going to beat this.' "