Survivor Spotlight: Lauren Alfino

I recently got to catch up with Lauren Alfino, a second-semester sophomore currently enrolled at Nova Southeastern University, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Lauren is a lymphoma survivor who has battled her way back to health, and is now battling her way to the rowing championship with her teammates at NSU. Read on to hear how she is doing.

 

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Lauren and her family spent time in CA during the recent winter break to visit her brother, and spent a day a the Monterey Bay Aquarium. On their way back, traveling on Hwy 1, they stopped at the Pierdras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery, where Lauren got to takethis wonderful picture with some elephant seals. Does that count as extra credit?

  1. How are enjoying your time at NSU?

I love my major. I am a marine biology major with a marine ecology minor. I am so happy to be studying such fascinating subject. I loved taking my intro to marine biology with lab class last semester. We got to go down to Key Largo and into the Everglades! I got to see my first alligator, crocodile and manatee last year because of that class. This semester I am in oceanography. There is so much stuff I never knew and I am enjoying every minute of learning. We are going on a few field trips this semester and I can’t wait. Organic chemistry is giving me a bit trouble, but I’m surviving and learning how to handle it. I love Nova Southeastern University. I’m so happy to be in Florida and have access to the ocean, so I can study my field right at my back door.

  1. What was the best part of last semester?

The best part of last semester for me was joining my fraternity (and yes, it’s a fraternity). I joined Alpha Phi Omega, the co-ed service fraternity at NSU, last semester. It was amazing, I made so many friendships and did so much community service. It helped me connect with the community and be able to give back.

  1. How is your health? Do you have any lingering effects from cancer or your treatment?

I am doing very well. I just passed my 3-year anniversary for getting diagnosed. I’ve had no health problems other than a shoulder injury due to rowing.

  1. Finally, what are you looking forward to during the upcoming semester and summer?

I am currently working on filling out all of my internship applications. I am hoping to stay in Florida this summer to be able to do some research or other work in marine biology. I’m hoping to get into a program that does marine mammal stranding/rescue and/or veterinarian work.I am also getting ready to start the rowing season. Even though I’ve been injured this year, I am still looking forward to supporting my team and seeing them race! I should be able to travel with them to some of the races and I am going on the spring break training trip with them.

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Lauren with her team last semester, rowing in her novice boat at the FIRA Championships. Lauren is in the bow seat, the rower pictured furthest to the right.

We are so proud of Lauren’s achievements in school and rowing. College is such a great time to spend making new friends, exploring everything that an exciting major and state has to offer,  The best part is knowing that Lauren is getting to do all of this completely cancer free and with less stress about paying for college! 

 

To find out how you can make a difference in the lives of young cancer survivors, please visit cancerforcollege.org

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This Valentine’s Day is for the Caregivers

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On Valentine’s Day, the idea is for people to finally stop to remember and recognize who they really love. Traditionally, this means someone you love romantically, like a boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse. But there is another kind of love, a memorable love. The kind of love that sticks around when the road turns ugly and treacherous.

It is the fierce love of caregivers. A love that hopefully every cancer patient knows.

Whether the caregiver comes in the form of a compassionate nurse, a loving friend or a dedicated family member, the caregiver’s job is simultaneously one of the most rewarding and overlooked roles imaginable. Why? Because caregivers are there during the difficult times, the embarrassing, and even just the mundane.

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Tosh, a hospital volunteer, and my friend, Kaiden, went above and beyond normal support as two of my caregivers.

Here is what I mean:

  • Holding your friend’s hair as she throws up from chemo.
  • Bathing your spouse because they are too weak to do so themselves.
  • Sharing a “nice meal” from the hospital cafeteria, atop a hospital bed, with one of those rolling trays as a table.
  • And if you are really lucky, going for a walk outside in the fresh air and sunshine (just the two of you and an IV pole)

 

This Valentine’s Day is for the caregivers.

For the people who constantly give selflessly, for the purpose of making their loved one a little cozier in a permanently uncomfortable hospital bed. The ones who give up their social life for the hope of eking just a little more life out of a sterile environment. And the ones who are able to care so well that cancer is unable overcome a sense of home, wherever you may be at the time.

This Valentine’s Day, get flowers and chocolate for your loved one (PLEASE DO THIS!) because it is fun, but let’s also celebrate those who share their love with us in many different ways.  

And let’s remember that every other day of the year is when acts of love truly count.

Happy Valentine’s Day, especially to all of you caregivers, ever faithful and unwavering. You are loved.


To find out how you can make a difference in the lives of young cancer survivors, please visit cancerforcollege.org

Taste to Educate 2016 Highlights

Cancer for College’s 9th annual “Taste to Educate” event was one for the books. On January 30th over 100 guests sipped on fine wine from leading wineries in the Northwest all while enjoying a premier four course dinner, catered by Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes. The evening featured an exclusive performance by Los Angeles based group, Rocky’s Revival, whose lead keyboardist and vocalist, Kalina Campion, happens to be a Cancer for College 2015 scholarship recipient as well. CFC is incredibly lucky to have the support of Seattle Children’s Hospital, UW Medicine, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Strong- Bridge Consulting, Windermere Foundation, Wells Fargo and Continental Van lines. Featured wineries included Fielding Hills Winery, Tsillan Cellars, Chelan Estate and Cairdeas Winery.
Thank you to everyone that came out to support Cancer for College’s 9th annual “Taste to Educate” event. With your generous support we raised over $50,000 for cancer survivors in the Pacific Northwest!
Were you unable to make it to the event? Head over to our Facebook page to see more
great pictures from the evening, and then add your own donation for cancer survivors at our Cancer for College Crowdrise page.