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TXWES family supports professor on her cancer journey

07.07.2020 | By: Texas Wesleyan University

The Texas Wesleyan Athletic Training Department has always been more like a family, and Dr. Pam Rast makes sure of that. Rast has been the athletic training program director for more than 25 years and the kinesiology chair for 18. If you ask any of her former students or colleagues, the Baylor University alumna lives and breathes Texas Wesleyan. As Rast says, “I certainly don’t get rich teaching, but the love that those students have shown me is worth more than any paycheck.”

Recently, Dr. Rast was diagnosed with cancer, but she has continued to work, even through her treatments, for the love of her students. Here are just a few sentiments from alumni and friends that show the impact Dr. Rast has made and continues to make on the TXWES community.

Laura Giesler ’10
Texas Health Sports Medicine

“Dr. Rast has always supported me. After graduating, Dr. Rast is someone I could call or text and ask for advice, both professional and personal. In fall 2018, I experienced an extremely difficult loss and my first cancer diagnosis. Dr. Rast was there for me when I didn’t even know I needed her support. In April 2020, I received my second cancer diagnosis, breast cancer. Dr. Rast and I have become even closer since both our diagnoses. We check on each other at least once a week. Dr. Rast cares so much about her students and will make any effort to ensure we are all doing well.”

“Dr. Rast has inspired me to fight for what I want in life. Without fighting, I couldn’t have grown into the person I am today. I currently work for Texas Health Sports Medicine with many individuals on district and national committees. I am able to see some of the things Dr. Rast does in the background and am inspired to work towards many of the same goals she has throughout her career.”

Christina Kelley ’12
Coordinator of Clinical Education and Visiting Professor for Athletic Training, Texas Wesleyan University
President, Texas Wesleyan Athletic Training Alumni Association

“Since 2008, Dr. Rast has always been a constant and consistent support system for me. I know I can always rely on her for an ear to listen and to provide wise advice to help guide me through some of life's crazy curve balls both personally and professionally. If it were not for her being such an advocate for my success, I would not be where I am today.”

“The most important reason I support Dr. Rast through her fight with cancer is because it is now my turn as her former student, peer, co-worker, and friend to be, more than ever before, the constant and consistent support system that she has been for me the last 12 years. Speaking both for myself and the Texas Wesleyan alumni, Dr. Rast is a tremendously giving and caring individual and it is our honor to be able to give back to her during this trying time.”

Cody Marlow ’15
Chiropractor/Owner, Kinisi Chiropractic
Philadelphia, PA

“At orientation I remember not knowing what I wanted to study, exercise science or athletic training. I remember Dr. Rast and Dr. Kunkel both were definitely pushing for Athletic Training and so that’s where it began! Dr. Rast and the Texas Wesleyan AT Program helped prepare me for life by giving us real time problems and making us think on our feet.”

“Throughout my time at Wesleyan, no matter what time of day it was, we could contact Dr. Rast and she would always respond. She wanted nothing more than for us to succeed at everything we did and never didn’t have time for her students. Because of that, I want to be there for her when she needs it.”

Chelsea Proctor-Willman
Clinical Education Coordinator and Clinical Instructor, Angelo State University

“I owe my career in academia to Dr. Rast. I remember emailing her while working full time for a local high school and had inquired if Wesleyan had a need for an adjunct. That short conversation snowballed and a few years after beginning as an adjunct, I accepted a full time position at Wesleyan.”

“I spent a year and a half working with Dr. Rast and could not have asked for a better mentor. Talk about a force of nature. Dr. Rast has grand ideas and is never afraid of a challenge. She always put her students and their needs ahead of her own. She put her trust in me to help her run the AT program and stoked my passion for teaching athletic training students. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity that Dr. Rast gave me as a young professional and can only hope to be as impactful in our field as she has been.”

Want to send well wishes to Dr. Rast? If she made an impact on your TXWES experience, email your story to alumni@txwes.edu.

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At Texas Wesleyan, we have a rich history and a Texas-sized reputation. As stewards of the University, it is our responsibility to build a future as bright as our past.