Kiersten Dickson – Lung cancer and College
On the 2nd of October, the Rotaract club of West Georgia had its very first guest speaker. Being diagnosed with lung cancer at the beginning of this year, she told us about the struggles of going through the medical procedures, while still performing in her junior year of college and keeping up with her social life. Here is Kiersten Dickson’s story:
Studies have shown that smoking is the cause to approximately 85 % of all lung cancers in the United States. But Kiersten Dickson has never smoked a cigarette. So when she at the beginning of this year got diagnosed with lung cancer, you can imagine her surprise. Since then she has gone through multiple rounds of chemo and radiation treatments. While doing this, she is at the same time going strong with her education; something that in itself can be almost overwhelming for many people. She is a former University of West Georgia student, now going to Georgia State University in her junior year. Some days, she wakes up early to get radiation/chemo in the morning, drives to class, and then comes back for more treatment in the afternoon. After a tasteless dinner and studying she goes to bed for another busy day as a student with cancer. And her studies are definitely not made easier by the fact that two of the side- effects of her treatments are tiredness and memory loss.
Still, Kiersten Dickson is very active in her social life. She is involved with various activities in the college (for example international events) and she is also motivating other young people with cancer at her hospital. One major reason why she is this active and stays positive is thanks to the encouragement she has received from friends and relatives. She is about to finish a round of chemo and if the PET-scan results are good, she will be done with her treatment. It is very inspiring to hear that she is not letting the cancer get the better of her. Another proof of this is that she is already making plans to take a year of studying abroad in Germany next year to improve her skills in a foreign language.
On behalf of Rotaract of West Georgia, we wish Kiersten all the best. We thank her for sharing her story and inspiring us to make the best out of every day and have a positive attitude to life, even when times are hard. Good health is nothing that should be taken for granted and we thank her for that lesson. She gave a very motivational speech, which set the path for many more to come!