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Erin is an outgoing and compassionate young adult who loves helping others, watching the “Ellen DeGeneres Show” and riding horses. She competes full time as a Junior Dressage rider. She has attended the National Championships several times and volunteered for several years at a therapeutic riding center.
In 2013, Erin, who has suffered from Lyme disease and kidney stones, had a CT scan which showed a mass near her lung. She had further appointments and on her 18th birthday learned that she had a tumor in her thymus gland that would have to be surgically removed. Shortly after surgery, Erin and her family received the devastating news that Erin had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Erin was treated with three 21-day cycles of chemotherapy at INOVA Children's Oncology and Hematology. She put her college plans on hold because of the cancer, but she has since completed treatment and is in remission. To add to the good news, she is excited that she will still be able to attend college and has been accepted to the University of Kentucky.
She hopes to continue her volunteer work, particularly with people with cancer. She also traveled to Lima, Peru as a volunteer to teach children and paint schoolhouses. She hopes to go back to Peru to continue that work, and she dreams of someday meeting her hero Ellen DeGeneres.
Erin would advise other young people with cancer that “Cancer is a tricky thing, it is different for everyone, but everyone will have their up days and their down days… It is totally ok to break down and cry, we all do it! But when you are done, wipe your eyes, plaster on your game face and say "I am stronger than cancer!"
Update, July 2015: Erin has now finished her first year of college at the University of Kentucky, and is one year cancer free!! She is spending her summer travelling, working, riding, and volunteering.
Information provided by Hero Erin Suidikas
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