Caring Bridge site set up for Atlantic Business Manager diagnosed with Leukemia


March 29th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Community School District’s Business Manager is undergoing chemotherapy for treatment of Acute Myelocytic Leukemia, or AML.

Atlantic Community School District Business Mgr. Mary Beth Fast

Mary Beth Fast, who came to the Atlantic District from the Griswold Community Schools in 2010, was diagnosed with the condition earlier this month.

AML is the most common type of leukemia among adults, although it affects people of all ages. In AML, immature leukemia cells rapidly accumulate in the bone marrow, destroying and replacing cells that produce normal blood cells. The leukemia cells are released into the bloodstream and are transported to other organs, where they continue to grow and divide.

A “Caring Bridge” site has been established for Mary Beth’s friends, family, students and faculty members to follow her progress as she endures the chemo procedures and tests. The website is

Mary Beth was initially diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection on February 24, 2012.  After completing the prescriptions, she still had a sore throat.  She returned to her doctor on March 12th, and upon further examination he decided to run a full blood test.  The next day she saw another physician, who confirmed the original doctor’s  blood tests results, and performed a bone marrow biopsy.  Before leaving his office he had diagnosed her with acute leukemia.

Mary Beth was admitted to Immanuel Hospital in Omaha, NE, on March 22nd.  The “induction  phase” of her treatment started the day she was admitted.  Her Caring Bridge site said she is on a high dose chemo therapy.  The goal is to completely eradicate her marrow of cancer cells.  This includes destroying all cells.  Once that is accomplished, new cells will begin forming, hopefully free of cancer. Melinda McDermott has assumed Mary Beth’s duties as Business Manager and School Board Secretary, in her absence.