Real People, Real Stories

Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor


You would never think that a professional cheerleader ever needed someone to cheer her up, but in December 2005, Sonya noticed a small bump at the base of her neck.  It tested positive for cancer, and she was diagnosed with stage II Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  Less than a month later, she began five months of chemotherapy and radiation.

Sonya was forced to quit her job and give up dancing because of her low endurance level from the treatments.  “This was the hardest part for me,” recalls Sonya, “because dancing is my passion…it’s how I express myself.”  Even harder was watching her friends dance without her.  She was 21 years old and just wanted to live her life… but it was at a stand still.  “I wouldn’t change the way things happened for the world,” says Sonya, who is back in the game of professional cheerleading.  “It was hell, but it opened up my world in so many ways: how to live life, the value of others, relationships.”

Sonya became a CanCare volunteer in May 2006.  She shares, “CanCare’s mission is the simplest idea.  It would have been so much easier if I’d had a CanCare volunteer to talk to when I had cancer.  If I can help someone else – hey, I’ll do it.  I get so much back from working with young people.  They teach me about myself.  Sometimes I forget what treatment was like.”  The message she tries to give all of her clients is this: “I know what you’re going through, and it will get better.”

CanCare has been serving people with cancer since 1990.  All services are confidential and free of charge.  To talk to someone surviving your diagnosis, click here.