Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- During tough times, it's often those closest to you that give you the most strength.

Take a walk around Richland Northeast High School with senior and cheerleader Nareka Mentor, and not only will you find her friends, and cheer squad, you'll find an entire school who has embraced one of their own.

"It makes me want to keep going on," said Nareka. "I've been going here since I was a Freshman."

Not only will you find her friends, and cheer squad, you'll find an entire school who has embraced one of their own. That's because when Nareka was only sophomore, her family and the school, heard the news that brought them to their knees.

"I was diagnosed with non-hodgkin's lymphoma," said Nareka. It was stage four cancer.

Her brother Najeriq says it was tough on his sister, especially when she lost her hair in kemo treatments.

"When I heard that I couldn't believe it, said Najeriq. "Just make her feel like she's the same. Cause that's all she really wants to feel like."

Principal Sabrina Suber says the family atmosphere at Richland Northeast began to wrap it's arms around Nareka.

"We all decided we are going to make this as painless as possible," said Suber. "When kids are sick in our buildings, we need to love them, embrace their sicknesses. Make the other students aware."

Nareka's cheer coach Blythe Branham says her girls began wearing hats so Nareka would feel more like herself. Even opposing teams cheerleaders started to take notice.

"She's a fighters and she's come back. The whole school has been here to support her," said Branham. "They even did a cheer out on the floor and spelled Nareka's name out."

"I was crying so bad and I gave everybody a hug and was like that's just so sweet," said Nareka.

Even her brother can't believe all the support from the school and community.

"I've never seen behind somebody as much as Richland Northeast is behind Nareka."

Take step on to the campus of Richland Northeast where you'll find a student body with big heart. What you won't find is Nareka Mentor, walking alone.

"I just want to say thank you Richland Northeast. I love you guys," said Nareka.

Nareka says she will finish up with her cancer treatments in a couple of months. Her principal Mrs. Suber says she can't wait to shake her hand when she crosses the stage at graduation in june.

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