CHC – The Cancer & Hematology Centers

Finding Friendship Amid the Fight

In the heart of South Bend, Indiana, amidst the bustling campus life of St. Mary’s College, Kara and Layne forged a unique bond of friendship. They were teammates on the Belles soccer team, but soon found themselves facing battles far beyond the boundaries of the soccer field.

Layne, the bright-eyed freshman with aspirations of mastering finance at St. Mary’s College, had her world shaken when she discovered a lump in her arm. It was December 2023 when her mother’s instincts urged her to seek medical attention. Layne’s world shifted with the reality of her diagnosis: Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Stage III. “I had played a season of soccer, living in the dorms, felt fine, did my first semester of college,” Layne recalled, reflecting on the whirlwind of events that led to her diagnosis.

Meanwhile, Kara, a junior biology major and seasoned soccer player, had been through the ups and downs of college life. She had known Layne since her freshman year, their friendship blossoming through shared lunches and dorm hangouts with teammates and friends. But Layne’s diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma hit Kara and their college community hard.

As Layne embarked on her treatment journey at CHC, Kara’s own health began to falter. Throughout the semester, she experienced persistent pains that refused to dissipate. Then, in March 2024, Kara woke up unable to walk, her world crashing down as she faced an emergency spine surgery. Ewing’s Sarcoma was the culprit, a diagnosis that mirrored Layne’s own battle.

Amidst the chaos of hospital visits and chemotherapy sessions, Kara and Layne found solace in their friendship. Together, they navigated treatment, leaning on each other for support. “The hardest thing was losing my hair, and Layne shaved hers before mine,” Kara confessed, her voice filled with gratitude for her friend.

“We asked if we could line up some of our appointments, and we made it work with our treatment plans,” said Kara. Under the compassionate care of Dr. Andrew Sochacki at CHC, Kara and Layne found comfort during uncertainty. His expertise and empathy eased their fears, guiding them through their health journey. “The staff at CHC are so warm,” Kara remarked, her voice soft with appreciation. “Dr. Sochacki knows exactly how to talk to someone for the first time about it.”

When questioned about her decision to choose CHC, Layne expressed, “I didn’t feel we were given as many options at other clinics. The treatment plan that I’m doing now was never even brought up before coming to CHC. Dr. Sochacki knows what he is talking about, and the way he explains himself, you can tell he treats us as he would want his family to be treated.”

Kara and Layne are looking forward to returning to St. Mary’s College when they complete their treatments. While they miss their friends, football games, and their soccer team, their bond has grown stronger than ever before, truly creating friendship amid the fight.