Catherine found out she had cancer at age 16. The busy teen wanted to do more than survive. She wanted to thrive. See how you helped her learn, dance, grow AND beat cancer …
Catherine had a life outside of the hospital that she didn’t want to give up. “My team at Children’s National understood,” she says. They worked with her to adjust her treatment schedule around the things she loved doing, like going to school and taking dance classes.
When she did visit the hospital, she found that she could take part in fun activities like art therapy. She was happy to make new friends in the art room, and relieved to find that fighting cancer didn’t mean leaving her social life behind.
“The hospital became part of my community, and made me feel less alone,” she says. “I talked with kids my age in the teen room who could relate about cancer.”
Catherine also worked with a psychologist who helped her cope with all the emotions that come with facing a life-threatening illness. “She was there when I was diagnosed and was with me through every new treatment,” Catherine says. “She cared about me as a whole person and was always there when I needed her, even just for a hug.”
Along the way, Catherine needed lots of hugs. “Having lymphoma meant the most awful kind of uncertainty,” she says. “I didn’t know if the chemo would work or if I would ever be able to go to college. I had no idea if I had a future.”
But finally, on day 901 of her cancer journey, Catherine got the news she’d been waiting for. Her scans showed that she was free of cancer! She and her family celebrated that night. Catherine says, "I could finally breathe deep knowing I was cancer-free."
Now, Catherine is a junior at Elon University. She's studying communication design and is a leader for her youth group on campus. In the meantime, she continues to inspire others through her experience and efforts to raise money for pediatric cancer research.
Catherine says, "my community at Children's National always made the hard stuff easier. They stuck by me. For that, I will always be grateful."
Thank you for supporting innovative and patient-centered care for kids and teens like Catherine. Because of you, brave patients can get the specialized treatment and ongoing support they need. When you give, you help kids grow up stronger. Thank you.