Team Katie: No One Fights Alone


On April 28 Mrs. McIntyre was welcomed back home with open arms by all her neighbors. “It was the most amazingly beautiful day. It far exceeded my expectations. We could not have been happier to pull into our neighborhood and see all of our family and friends,” she said.

It is never easy to understand why the most amazing people have to face the most arduous battles. On March 29, the GHS community was struck with heart-wrenching news. Katie McIntyre, high school health and driver’s ed teacher, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. “She had missed a lot of school in the month before her diagnosis,” said Senior Hall teacher, Mrs. Bookless. “I wondered if there was something more serious going on, but Katie, being Katie, said she was just sick.”

In addition to teaching at the high school, Mrs. McIntyre is a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. She is known for her bright outlook, upbeat energy, infectious smile, and leadership throughout the school.

“Mrs. McIntyre embodies the ideals of community, support, and encouragement,” said high school teacher Sarah Rosenthal. “She is the person who rallies the students and staff, so it is our time to rally for her.”

Mrs. McIntyre also helps with the Key Club. “I could not do it without her,” said Bookless. “She always has great ideas for service projects and she genuinely loves giving back to the community.”

This dedication to service is seen by her students as well. “Mrs. McIntyre is always helping students find opportunities to be involved in their community through service,” said Ayden Wells ‘23. “People look up to her positivity and leadership.”

Following her diagnosis, Mrs. McIntyre’s positive personality has not been altered and she continues to have a smile on her face. You could ask anyone who has been in contact with her, and they would say, no matter the news she got she would always turn it into positive news.
“My body is like a factory,” said Mrs. McIntyre. “Once my old carpet factory is completely shut down, I’m rebuilding it as Santa’s workshop as that sounds way more fun.”

The GHS community always has Mrs. McIntyre on their minds. “She sends an almost daily update to her ‘prayer warriors,” said high school teacher Randi Burken. “No matter what setbacks she has in treatment, she keeps her positive attitude.”

After her diagnosis, Mrs. McIntyre moved into the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and knew that she was going to stay for at least 30 days. “Nothing can prepare you physically, mentally, or emotionally for such an unexpected diagnosis; however, with the support of our friends, family, and wonderful community, anything is possible,” said McIntyre. “The hardest part was informing my kids before they heard from someone else, and preparing to be away from them for such a long time. We have had the most beautiful and humbling support system by our side to catch all our slack, which has made it all doable.”

McIntyre continued, “It’s hard being pulled so quickly from school as well. I miss my students and colleagues so much! I am incredibly grateful for the assistance of all who have willingly taken on extra to help cover my teaching load.”

Her team of doctors quickly got her started on intense treatments. For the first seven days, Mrs. McIntyre had strong chemotherapy treatments, with a 24-hour drip bag. During this time, she felt as good as could be expected. In keeping with her positive attitude, Mrs. McIntyre named her chemo and drip cart that goes everywhere with her, Rapunzel and she would say, “Rapunzel let down your cords.”

When the IV treatment was finished, she was switched to a chemotherapy pill, which she needed to take twice a day. This pill had some negative side effects and resulted in a series of infections. Due to this, her team of doctors in Iowa City had to place a hold on chemotherapy treatments, as they accessed the situation.

While in the hospital, Mrs. McIntyre was limited to only two visitors a day. Her husband Brian has been an almost constant presence with her. Mrs. McIntyre’s mom was able to spend 11 days in Iowa City helping her get settled.

One Friday night, Mr. McIntyre was surprised with a visit from her three kids.“We FaceTime all the time,” said McIntyre. “So I’ve talked to the kids every day, but not seeing them in person, or being able to hug them has really been hard.”

The girls were not able to go into the hospital because of the two-visitor rule, but Emmit who is in 5th grade, was able to give his mom a hug for the first time on April 14. “I was shocked when I looked up and Emmitt was there. I started to cry and just wanted to hug him so hard.”

Over the course of her battle, Mrs. McIntyre has been counting down the days to come back and see everyone. She returned home on April 28, which was the best news for so many people. The community has worked hard to be a strong foundation for her and they have not been shy in showing the love and support they have for the McIntyre family.

Amy McCoy has set up a meal train, a Caring Bridge website, and has been by the family’s side every step of the way. “Katie is like a sister to me and a best friend to our whole family,” she said.
The news Katie received is never easy for anyone, but it was especially hard to hear for someone as close to her as Amy. “I remember receiving the call on March 29 on my way home from work at around 10:30 at night. It was hard to accept that this was happening to my girl, my rock,” said McCoy.

The Vincent and Watson families have also been a large part of the McIntyre’s journey. They ardently stepped up and made sure to help in any way that they could. “There is a huge void in our school and in our neighborhood without Mrs. McIntyre. She has been out of town receiving treatment for almost a month now.

We miss her very much,” said Lisa Watson. “Her kids miss her so much but it has been nice to spend some quality time with them that I would have not been able to otherwise. When we are together, we make the best of it and try to have some fun. We love our time with the kids.”
The Key Club also wanted to show their love for Mrs. McIntyre by selling decals and hair ties during lunch. This fund-raiser helped get the students involved, as they wanted to give back to Mrs. McIntyre for all that she has done for her students. There are still decals available and anyone who wants to show their support should reach out to Mrs. Bookless at the high school.

The Key Club also held the Annual Balloon Stomp, held on April 26, which was another fund-raiser for Team Katie. “We know that what we can do isn’t really much,” said Bookless. “But if I know Katie, she is going to remember every little thing that people did for her, and she will be forever grateful for all the love and support. She’s an amazing woman, and she deserves every bit of devotion she has been shown.”

GHS students have had some big feelings about Mrs. McIntyre’s diagnosis and have felt her absence from the halls this spring. “Hearing about Mrs. McIntyre was very hard to hear since she has been there for me since middle school. She always finds ways to brighten my day,” said Keaton Bauer ‘23. “She is not only a great teacher, but a great role model as well.”
Mrs. McIntyre has given so much to our community and the love we hold for her is beyond words. The McIntyre family is in everyone’s thoughts and prayers during this time and we can not wait for her return.