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MANTI—Manti High School bus drive Garry Bringhurst is in for the fight of his life, but he’s not doing battle without support.
Bringhurst was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in early April and has undergone chemotherapy, which has left him unable to drive his bus, something he sorely misses, his wife Sheila Bringhurst says.
Students he drives to and from school, some of whom call him “grandpa,” immediately missed him. And the girls softball team decided to do something about it.
They dedicated their last home game to Bringhurst and put up a large sign at the game that said, “Garry, we love and support you. Strike out cancer.”
They also presented him with Dr. Pepper and cinnamon heart candies, some of his favorite treats, along with a softball containing all of their signatures.
Later, girls basketball coach Roger Watson and his family stopped by the Bringhurst home with cards from his team and, of course, more Dr. Pepper.
“It was just really sweet,” Sheila says.
Sheila says her husband has a special relationship with students, especially the ones he drives to games.
“He doesn’t just sit in the bus waiting for them,” she says. “He’s out there cheering on the kids at all of the games. He loves his girls. They’re all pretty special.
“I’m just pleased that they could honor, support and love Garry,” she adds. “He needs all the support he can get right now. It’s a hard time. We really appreciate the kind little things people do.”
Sheila says the prognosis for Garry is positive. “They feel they caught it early enough,” she says, but in the meantime, he has been too sick to work and has lost more than 25 pounds. His course of treatment is three rounds of chemotherapy three weeks apart, followed by three weeks of radiation therapy five days a week. His first treatment was April 25.
Garry Bringhurst has been a bus driver for the school district for 17 years. He took the job after a career as a general contractor and a community college instructor.
He still works with his hands in his backyard woodworking shop, making rolling pins and other items that people describe as practically being works of art.
Bringhurst, who turns 69 in June, is hoping he will be able to return to driving his bus in the fall and to get back to cheering on “his” girls at all of their games.