Three days after Emily’s 19th birthday, she received the devastating news that she had stage 3 malignant melanoma, one of the most serious forms of skin cancer. She was given less than a 59 percent chance of surviving the next five years. In a state of shock, she felt her only options were fight or flight – to face her diagnosis head-on or to live in fear – and she chose to fight.
“My emotions just shut down, and I had to do whatever it took to get me to the next day. And then the next,” Emily said.
She faced many surgeries and biopsies, but Emily says Roswell Park really supported through her entire battle with cancer. “If it wasn’t for the nurturing care of the nurses, oncologists and surgeons, I don’t think I would have come out the other side as the same person. Roswell was more than just an institute to me. It was a home, and every part about it gave me a second chance.”
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After more than a year of treatment, Emily was declared cancer-free. She doesn’t take her current cancer-free status for granted and is very grateful for where she is today. “I love to live,” she said. “It’s taken some tough times in my life to make me realize that I HAVE a life, and that life moves fast so I have to enjoy it while I can.”
Emily now enjoys traveling and exploring the world from the deck of a cruise ship. When she is not globe-trotting, she is at home playing with her three cats, Smuggie, Blue and Luna. Regardless of where she is or what is ahead of her, she continues to confront life’s challenges head-on and with a positive attitude.