Great Graduates: Juliana Cavazos, St. Mary’s Hall

Baylor freshman is set thrive after being cancer during high school

In this Great Graduate video meet Juliana, a St. Mary's Hall graduate.

SAN ANTONIO – Going through high school in a pandemic is stressful enough, but finding out that you had cancer -- a tumor wrapped around your heart -- adds so many more obstacles.

Juliana Cavazos is a Great Graduate from Saint Mary’s Hall who not only beat cancer, but is set to thrive after graduation.

“So I got an MRI. I found that I had a huge tumor wrapped all around my heart,” Cavazos said. “I had stage two Hodgkin’s lymphoma.”

If you’ve met Cavazos, you’d never have known what she’s been through.

“I ended up doing four rounds of chemotherapy. I was on six or seven chemos. It was a pretty intense therapy. So obviously I lost my hair,” Cavazos said.

Juliana said it all happened so fast. She didn’t really have time to slow down and realize it.

“Losing my hair was what made it so real to me. Like, it wasn’t the fact that I was going through chemo and living in a hospital. It was kind of just like, ‘Oh, I don’t have hair anymore.’ Like that’s what really like made it real to me,” Cavazos said.

But she never stopped fighting.

“it’s hard to think of a time when I didn’t see her smile, even when she was going through the cancer,” Juliana’s teacher Teri Marshall said.

Going through so much at such a pivotal age, it can really hamper someone’s outlook on life. But for Juliana, she is so enthusiastic and so optimistic.

“If instead you put yourself in a position of gratefulness that it could be, it always can be worse than it is. And if you have people around you that love you, then you’re already better off than a lot of others,” Cavazos said.

“(She’s) courageous to be able to go through something like this. And as you said, with the heart, that takes a lot of courage not to to let yourself get down,” Marshall said.

And the courage paid off.

“As of last year, June, I was completely clean. I’m in remission. So this June will be my first year, completely cancer free, which is really exciting,” Cavazos said.

Next year, Juliana is set to start her freshman year at Baylor, in the Baylor interdisciplinary core on a Pre-Law track.

About the Author:

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.