Alex Marshall is a professional college swimmer who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Her swimming was never effected before her diagnosis, that’s why everyone was surprised when she learned she had cancer. In an interview about her experience, Marshall stated, “I was thrown into the spotlight of ‘cancer girl,’ and I wasn’t quite ready for that. I didn’t really want that…” Still Marshall persevered her disease and after she finished her chemotherapy treatment, she went back to swimming.
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Alex Marshall was a freshman in college when she had her first cancer scare.
Intense chest pain and difficulty breathing were serious alarms for the swimmer at Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina. Her training came to a halt when she ended up in the hospital — for 10 days.
With the hallmark symptoms of a Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis, Marshall and her family feared the worst, but doctors determined that a severe case of mononucleosis was the cause of her problems.
“I was released from the hospital, and I was like, ‘OK, we dodged a bullet. It wasn’t cancer,’ ” said Marshall, now 22. The mass in her chest that was causing her pain and other symptoms was covered in the highly contagious Epstein-Barr virus, best known as the cause of mononucleosis.
Two years later, while pursuing a more rigorous academic schedule and training for the Canadian Olympic trials through dual citizenship on her father’s side, Marshall began to notice more breathing problems and what seemed like a lingering cold.
“I just played it off, because I was getting cold-like symptoms, and then I would just get over it. And it would come back again two to three weeks later. I dealt with that all of summer.”
Come fall, the familiar pain in her chest returned.