SAN ANTONIO – Cancer can be a major obstacle for a person to deal with especially when you are a very active high school student playing soccer. That was the case for 18-year-old Presley Hare, who decided to turn her experience being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma right side up.
“Back in May of 2017, I was diagnosed,” Hare said. “I was 16 at the end of my sophomore year. My grandpa died from pancreatic cancer, so cancer does run in my family but I never expected this to happen to me.”
Hare said she had to be strong for her family.
“The moment that my doctor told us I literally turned to my parents and said ‘There will be no tears,’” Hare said. “I just wanted to hit this thing head on and I didn’t want people to pity me. I think my parents were stronger after that because they were just awestruck at how I was conversing with my doctor on how to proceed.”
Hare did admit she was fearful at first.
“It was scary,” Hare said. “After I finally went home and it finally settled in, I just broke down and started crying like ‘What is going to happen?’ My doctor pulled me out of school and started chemo right away. I was just terrified because you never expected something like this to happen and it did.”
Hare had six rounds of chemo over six months. Her rounds ended in December 2017.
“I am very involved in soccer and it slowly exhausted me,” Hare said. “I was completely wiped out and I just laid in bed for like a week. I did not feel good.”
Her biggest obstacle was being self-conscious about losing her hair.
“My hair was very important to me,” Hare said. “I had very long hair down to my hips and when it started falling out I began breaking down even more. I remember it was during my first round where I was brushing my hair out and it was just coming out in clumps and I just started freaking out and I just sat on my bathroom floor crying.”
But like the cancer, Hare began fighting her negative feelings about her hair loss.
“My cousins were in town,” Hare said. “I was like ‘I am not dealing with my hair being in the pool because I wanted to go swimming. My main concern was I was like ‘I am going to have a weird shaped head’ or something along the lines and then whenever we finally got rid of my hair we were just like ‘OK, this isn’t that bad. I actually look OK.’”
At the start of Hare's diagnosis, she learned about Student of the Year through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Due to her health, she couldn’t run but her sister did in her place. She raised $18,000 that year.
“This year, I wanted to run because this is bigger than me,’ Hare said. “I felt like they had given so much to be able to raise money for blood cancers that I feel that I should give back to them.”
Since last August, Hare planned her campaign but didn't kick it off until January of this year. Now that her campaign is over, Hare has raised over $30,000.
“I am awestruck at how many people came up and came out and I just want to say thank you to them.”
Now Hare is back on the field as a cancer-free woman wanting to continue to raise awareness and funds for blood cancer in hopes of a cure sooner rather than later.
“Our generation which would probably have an easier time creating a cure than what going on now because it is not going to happen instantaneously. It is going to take years but if we work hard to do it now then later on it will help,” Hare said. “If this does happen to you or someone around you, you just have to fight and it will be OK.”
If you know someone like Hare who is making a difference in the South Texas community or who has a unique story, send us your tips. Contact Japhanie Gray on Facebook or @JGrayKSAT on Twitter. You can also send your tips to KSAT 12 & KSAT.com on Facebook.