Before her cancer diagnosis, Eileen Fauteux used to worry about all the things a college student at Virginia Tech worried about, namely making it through final exams in time for Thanksgiving break.
But instead of going home to enjoy the big feast, she spent the holidays in the hospital, where an MRI revealed a tumor. Although surgery successfully removed the tumor, she got word 10 days later that the pathology reports revealed she had Ewing Sarcoma.
Her first reaction was to get out a good cry with her mom, Peggy. “But we didn’t linger that long in negativity,” Peggy says.
Instead, the amazing Fauteux women refused to let the diagnosis define Eileen’s future. After nine months of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation, Eileen put everything she could into seeing the positive out of an unexpected and horrible scenario. She even surprised friends at Virginia Tech by walking the Survivors Lap of the Relay for Life event—a relay they were doing in her honor—and all this after a morning of radiation treatment.
Her own cancer diagnosis has influenced her decision to continue on to graduate school to become a physician’s assistant. “Getting Ewing Sarcoma has made my passion for the medical field that much stronger. I’m excited to be able to get into a white coat and be on the other side of the table—and of course, to give back to people,” she says.
Eileen knows firsthand that Ewing Sarcoma tumors love to come back, but despite the challenges ahead, she is staying optimistic and is determined to make a positive impact on other cancer-survivor warriors.