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“Walking” Full Circle

BY Kadesha Washington

In 2009, Carol DeCoene was rushed to Columbia. The test results from her pediatrician showed something was seriously wrong. A few days later, it was confirmed. Carol had Stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She was only 17.

For months Carol had been misdiagnosed by another doctor, causing her disease to progress to life-threatening levels. Thanks to the proper diagnosis by Columbia’s medical staff, her treatment started immediately. Carol underwent chemotherapy for eight months.

Surviving The Journey

Carol credits the doctors and nurses at Columbia for treating her cancer and saving her life. The addition of alternative medicines, like massages, aromatherapy, and writing therapy, helped her cope with the physical pain of her treatments. Hope & Heroes offers complementary medicines and integrative therapies as part of our patient’s care – free of charge.

But Carol also remembers Hope & Heroes giving her purpose during her cancer journey:

“Through Hope & Heroes, I connected with fellow cancer patients, survivors, and groups like the Silver Lining Society. I was inspired to let down my wig and expose my true self – bald, bold, and beautiful! I didn’t have to feel like a sick cancer patient all the time; instead, I felt like a human being with a full life to live.”

Walking with Purpose

Today, Carol is 27 and has been in remission since 2010. She works as an account manager at Decoded, a global tech education company. When she’s not hanging out with her sweet puppy Buddy, she enjoys reading, writing, snowboarding, and traveling.

Carol has a long history with Hope & Heroes. She led a team for the inaugural years of the Hope & Heroes Walk – raising close to $30,000! In 2010, she was a guest speaker at the Silver Lining Society’s gala. Carol relocated from New York a few years ago, but she is back and ready to be a part of the Walk’s 10th anniversary!

“Thanks to Hope & Heroes, I met people who will forever sit close to my heart. I was able to find the inspiration to live my life as a cancer patient and now a cancer survivor. I walk for everyone who has fought before, who is fighting now and who will be fighting in the future.”

What a homecoming, Carol! Join her and our patient families, doctors, nurses, and supporters on Sunday, May 19 as we walk to end pediatric cancer and blood disorders. Visit www.HopeandHeroesWalk.org to sign-up and start or join a team.

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