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A Success Story - Katelyn Murray

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Katelyn Murray

Katelyn graduated from the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware, double majoring in Accounting and Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management. Katelyn's cancer experience has shown her that she needs to be involved in encouraging all young adults who have Hodgkin's Lymphoma, through one-on-one contact as well as online forums and groups.  She has survived Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  In her own words:

“Whenever someone asks me about my cancer experience, I am always hesitant to answer because I never know if I will be able to find the words to truly explain what it has been like having cancer for the past year.  Cancer has changed my attitude toward life.  At the beginning of this journey, I was told that attitude is everything.  I was told that no matter how hard it got, positivity was going to get me through this.  This is why my mindset has truly helped me through this.  I like to say that I have remained as positive as possible throughout this journey.  Of course, there are rough days.  There have been days where I did not want to get out of bed because the pain was so strong.  Then there have been such good days that I almost forget that there are these evil cells in my body. 

Due to cancer, I look at life through different lenses than most other people.  I cherish each day, because who knows which day will be their last.  I came back to college, even with three treatments left, because I was determined to continue on with my life.  I want to do what I want to do, because if not, I know I will regret it. 

When I did return to school, I took on a full course load.  I continued my position as president of the UD chapter of the Club Managers Association of America.  I reconnected with the brothers in my business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi.  I entered a video contest for the student health department of my school.  I began working on a case competition with Target.  And I completed my 10th chemotherapy treatment of ABVD. 

I am currently planning my life for what I want it to be after I am done with this cancer chapter.  From the beginning of my diagnosis, I had read article after article about how hard it is to get back into the groove of life, but I believe that I have already begun this transition successfulyy.  I am an overachiever and I want to prove that I can continue to follow my passions, even with this challenge of Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  Lymphoma has shown me that I have what it takes to accomplish anything.  I have fought for my life, and I have learned not to take things for granted, and to always stay positive. 

Of course, if I had a choice, I would not have asked for this disease.  However, since I have it, I have looked at the good side of it.  I have learned SO much about cancer that I never had thought to research.  I knew cancer was a horrible disease and that chemotherapy made you lose your hair.  I knew that anyone, regardless of their income level, age or skin color, could get this disease.  What I had not known was what chemotherapy or even just the symptoms of cancer were like.  I also did not know how emotional this whole journey would be, especially losing my hair.  I did not know that there was such a large support network in the cancer community - both online and in person.  I did not know there would be strangers rooting for me all over the world.  This gave me strength. 

I believe everything happens for a reason and if I could take it back, I do not think I would take this experience back.  Keep in mind that I feel this way as I lay in bed experiencing the symptoms of my tenth treatment of chemotherapy.  I feel I can now relate so much more to someone who has cancer.  I have spoken to and helped others who are going through the same experience on young adult cancer online forums, and we really are all in this together.  I am grateful that my treatments are complete and I am cancer free.  Some people are not as lucky, and for them I pray. 

I want to continue to be involved in the online forums for Hodgkin's Lymphoma that I have been a part of already.  I also plan on staying active on the Lymphoma Facebook page, and to serve as a mentor for any young adult who has to go through what I have been through.  UDance, the student-run philanthropy at my college, raises money for the B+ Foundation, to help end childhood cancer.  I have been asked to speak at the next 12-hour dance marathon.  After being in the crowd the past two years, going onstage and sharing my story will be a huge difference.  I want the children in attendance to see that anything is possible and that they can get better.  I want the student body to see that it can happen to anyone.  And I want everyone in attendance to know that they must stay positive in everything that may come their way.

As I continue with my life and look to the future, I think about how I will be as a leader.  I now experience a stronger sense of empathy for everyone I meet. This is a great quality of a leader.  I also believe that if I can beat cancer and get through my treatments, I can get through anything.  I am not worried about the future. 

I will make it through this chapter of my life.  And I will continue to live out my dreams of traveling and becoming an account.  Thank you, Cancer Survivors' Fund for this opportunity.  I am a survivor and I will make you proud!"


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