Rachel was diagnosed with stage 4B Hodgkin lymphoma in February 2015. She was 26 years old. The moment when her oncologist first spoke the words “you have cancer” were surreal to her. She looked to her parents who exchanged the same look of disbelief and shock, then quickly looked away before fear and sadness settled across their faces. Her mind started to race, “How am I stage 4? I don’t feel that sick. This has to be a mistake, where did this even come from? What happens now?”
Over the next six months, she went through a regimen of 12 ABVD chemotherapy treatments, hair loss, bouts of low energy, extremely low white blood cell counts, 3 PET scans, one blood clot scare and what felt like an infinite amount of doctor appointments. Days that she didn’t want to get out of bed, and a few that she actually didn’t. But she refused to give in to cancer and kept living her life. She went to work every day, kept up with her friends and went on her family’s annual summer vacation. On September 24, 2015, while her doctor reviewed the results from her last PET scan, she looked over his shoulder at the computer screen and could barely make out the words in the conclusion paragraph, “…no hypermetabolic lesions present…” He turned around and said ‘Ok, you’re clear’.
Today, Rachel is helping drive forward the mission of The Leukemia & Lymphoma (LLS) through Team In Training. She completed her first ever Team In Training event and half marathon at the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon in 2018. She has since formed a Team In Training team, “Show Me The Moose!” who are taking on the Alaska Marathon in June 2019.