Heroes Project 2014 – McKenzie Casal

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“You have to hold your head high”  – McKenzie Casal

When cancer rears its head, friends and family of the person diagnosed huddle around their loved one in a show of support. In these moments, many realize it”s that very person who sets the tone for their battle with the disease. The strength of their character emboldens those around them to also be strong.

After being diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, McKenzie Casal, a teenage Peachtree Ridge High School student, finished out her lacrosse season, went to prom, and kept doing the things she”d always done.

“You have to hold your head high,” the 18-year-old said. “I felt like I had to be strong for everyone else.”

Her mom agreed. “Kenzie never showed in public anything that she was probably feeling at the time. She was so confident in herself. She stood tall.”

McKenzie went through four rounds of chemotherapy and changed her diet completely. She”s been cancer free for a year and a half.

The young girl said that that the whole episode taught her to put things in perspective. “It made me look at my situation, and what I realized was it could have been a whole lot worse.”

And where did McKenzie find that wave of strength that inspired her friends and family?

“I just handled it in my own way. I did things in my own time…I thought of cancer as something that I needed to get out of the way so that I could move on to the next phase in my life.”